October 8, 2023 - How to Experience Life to Its Fullest - Pastor Paul Vallee

October 8, 2023 - How to Experience Life to Its Fullest - Pastor Paul Vallee
Living Stones Church, Red Deer, Alberta
October 8, 2023 - How to Experience Life to Its Fullest - Pastor Paul Vallee

Oct 10 2023 | 00:51:53

Episode 41 October 10, 2023 00:51:53

Show Notes

Psalm 96:1-13

One of the most striking, shocking, and enlightening texts of Scripture that should cause us pause is found in Romans 1:21. It speaks of the heart turning away from God. 

Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor thanked him, but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Those are haunting words, '...they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to Him.' The sin of ingratitude is a deadly trap that the enemy of our souls uses to destroy us.

Ingratitude is a monstrous sin that leads toward a downward path. It affects the soul like a growing, deadly cancer spreading and infecting and affecting not only the patient but the lives of others.  How often we become angry and embittered toward God for life's difficulties, yet in that Shakespearean play so true to life, we discover that the good is growing better through suffering and all the bad is worsening through success. Ernest Howse states: "In King Lear, Shakespeare turned the admiration upon those characters who through trial and tribulation developed inner integrity, humility of mind, compassion for the poor." 11   

The great issue is the condition of our heart: Is it filled with gratitude and thanksgiving, or has it grown hard and callous so that we resist God's word and workings in our lives? Is our heart tender or tough? We can determine this by our attitude toward God.

This weekend, we celebrate a day called Thanksgiving. It is a day to express our appreciation for all God has done for us this past year. It is a day to declare the faithfulness of God to us as a people. So, how should we respond to God when He comes to us? In Psalm 96, we discover three responses to God when He reveals Himself and comes to us, allowing us to live life to its fullest. It is amazing what happens to a person when we move from a self-centred and earthly vantage point to a God-centered, heavenly perspective. We immediately see things differently.  Our attitude swiftly shifts from frustration, despair, doubt, and discouragement to hope, delight and joyful expectation. We can cultivate a deeper appreciation for what God has truly done for us and how we should express that. 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] I'm going to have a stand this morning, we're going to go to the Lord in prayer. And I know that most of us, we're well aware of the news and yesterday there was an unprovoked attack on Israel and it's painful. It doesn't matter even if people don't agree with Israel, that's not the point. But when are living in security and all of a sudden there's this kind of unmitigated aggression and 2500 missiles fired, crazy. Over 1000 people killed and people taken into captured and many of them civilians. I can't even imagine that happening in our city. Wouldn't that be terrifying? How many say you can't even imagine that? It's pretty shocking, isn't it? So let's pray for that nation. I'm praying for peace, I'm praying for restoration. I'm praying that God will use this for good. Even though it's evil, god will use it for good. Amen. So Father, we pray today, we pray for the nation of Israel, right know, I know the Ukraine's been fighting a war for a long time, there's lots going on in our world today. And we know that you truly are the hope of the world. And we pray for those that are walking through danger, conflict, war, captivity. [00:01:23] These things almost seem foreign to us and yet they're happening even right now we're just 9 hours away by plane to be right in the middle of it. And so Father, we pray for people that are suffering, people that are dealing with anxiety, fear, uncertainty. We commit them to your grace. Lord, we pray that out of evil you will triumph, you will bring good out of evil. Lord, I pray that you will trump evil and that you will do something special in this season in the life of the nation of Israel, in the life of the nation of the Ukraine, and even in our own nation, O God, that we, Lord, would be a people that would begin to turn to you as a nation across our land. People turning to you, Father. And I pray today, even in our service, people that are listening in Father, that many of us who struggle with an attitude of frustration and maybe self pity or we're upset, blaming, we're complaining, whatever it is, I pray today that something profound would happen. There would be a change inside of us, there'd be a change in our thinking, there would be a change in our attitude, the well of ingratitude would be the well of gratitude actually would be reopened in our soul. There would be a springing up of joy in our lives that we've not known before. Because I believe that gratitude and joy and hope do not spring up simply from the context of an external circumstance. But it's a change of heart and mind. And I pray today that you would bring about that change and we thank you for that. In Jesus name and God's. People said amen. You may be seated. I'm going to have you turn in your Bibles to the Psalms, Psalm 96. [00:03:11] And I've entitled this message how to experience life to its fullest. Anybody here say Jesus said, I came to give you life and life more abundantly, life to its fullest. But I think a lot of Christians aren't experiencing this. And I'm going to talk today about how you and I can begin to experience life to its fullest. Anybody up? Anybody would sign up? For Lord, I want to experience life to its maximum. I want to experience life abundantly. I want to experience life to its fullest. And I think one of the most striking, shocking, and even enlightening texts of the Bible is and I think it causes me pause every time I read it is found in the Book of Romans, chapter one and verse 21 when it says, for although they knew God, it's a very profound statement. They knew God, it says here. But they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. [00:04:02] But their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Something happened. There was a progression. And when we think of these haunting words, they neither glorified nor thanked him. [00:04:18] The sin of ingratitude is one of the most deadly traps to our souls. It's a trap. [00:04:28] It's designed to destroy us. It's designed to make us miserable. It's designed to put us at ODS with Almighty God. God is for us. But when you and know are filled with ingratitude, that creates a barrier. [00:04:45] In Ernest Howe's book Spiritual Values in Shakespeare, he shares how the great Shakespearean play King Lear is really the tragedy of ingratitude, he says, where most Shakespeare's heroes are admirable and likable people. King Lear's character is different. In the other tragedies like Hamlet and Macbeth and Othello. These people are good, but they in the end degenerate. But in this one, King Lear is already a rough character. But something happens to him through suffering that in the end is redeemable. It's a very powerful message. He begins as a bad tempered, entitled older king who has three daughters and he decides to divide his kingdom by distributing it to these daughters and their husbands and husbands to be. But they first much tell him which one loves him most. The first two daughters resort to flattery even though they have no affection for their father because he's not a nice man, basically. [00:05:51] The third daughter, Gordella, she's made of different stuff. She's disgusted by her sisters in sincerity and she says simply to her father she says that she loves him according to the duty of a daughter, nothing more and nothing less. Well, he's annoyed by that response and he tells her to mend her tongue and she responds by telling him that her love is richer than just her words. Angry King Lear disinherits her, divides his kingdom between the other two daughters and their spouses and Cordella ends up marrying the king of france, and she moves away. But as soon as the other two daughters gain power, they drop their pretense, and we see their true colors, and they actually show how much they despise their father and they relegate him to nothing. Basically, Shakespeare writes, he gives his daughters the estate, and the daughters then give him the know house. Says, quickly, Lear learns that the winter wind is not as cold as the heart of a thankless child. Ouch. Isn't that sad? We're living in a generation where a lot of young people are angry at their parents. [00:06:59] Can I just say, there are no perfect parents? [00:07:02] And I will say this, that you know what? One of the lessons that I learned from an imperfect parent as a child, I eventually had to come to forgive my father, value what he gave me, and forgive him for what he was incapable of doing, and try to learn from his broken past and not hold it against him. One of the things that frees us is forgiveness. But a lot of people choose not to forgive. They choose to blame and be angry. And then we stay in that prison house of bitterness and anger. Well, finally, the old king's strength is snapped by the relentless cruelty of his two daughters and their husbands. And then one night, during a terrible storm, he breaks away and flees, broken hearted, tormented, penniless, unrecognized, dishonored, wandering through his own demise. And eventually, his young daughter Cordella, now Queen of France, returns with an army to right the wrongs, and she brings a doctor to treat the unbalanced mind of her father. The doctor succeeds, but the army's defeated, gridella and her father, King Lear, are captured. Gordella is executed. King Lear dies of a broken heart. And this is how Ernest Howe concludes. He says this, but with a startling touch of drama. At the last, Lear, in the very moment of death, is seized by a wayward fancy, that Gordelia, it lives, and he dies in the midst of tragedy, with a burst of joy upon his know. Shakespeare is trying to teach us a lesson of the power of ingratitude to bring about destruction. [00:08:39] It's a monstrous sin that leads down a downward path. It affects the soul like a deadly, growing cancer, spreading, affecting not only the patient, but the lives of all the people around them. How often we become angry and embittered towards God for the difficulties of life. And yet, back in that Shakespearean place, so true to life, we discovered that the good are growing better through suffering, and all the bad are getting is worse through success. Pretty interesting lesson, isn't it? In King Lear, Shakespeare turns the admiration upon those characters who trial and tribulation, develop inner integrity, humility of mind and compassion for the poor. You see, the great issue of life is the condition of our heart. That's the great issue. [00:09:25] Is it filled with gratitude and thanksgiving, or has it grown hard and callous so that we resist God's word and his workings in his life. Is our heart tender or tough? [00:09:39] We can determine this by our attitude towards God. You know, this Psalm 96 was written in a very interesting moment in the life of King David. He finally becomes the king of a united nation, a people gathered together. And the first act that David does is he chooses Jerusalem as his capital and then he brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. And the Ark of the Covenant really represents the presence of God. And what David is really longing for is to make sure that God is at the center of his administration. And know, we could look at, know, most of us, we need to make a decision, is God really at the center of our homes? Is God really at the center of my soul? Starts there, doesn't it? It was certainly in David's life and we can see the good things that came as a result of that in his nation. [00:10:28] This song is actually recorded in two places in Scripture. The first is one, Chronicles 1623 to 33. But here it's also the same words are found in Psalm 96. It's repeated. I think there's a reason for that. This is the moment of great joy for David and the people of God. How many remember reading the story of David bringing the ark in and finally, when he finally does it right, there's such great joy. They're dancing, there's celebration. It's just a moment of tremendous joy in the life. And the idea is that when God comes, there is great joy. Isn't that true? When God shows up on the scene, joy is the evident response that we have. We celebrate today through this weekend, this time called Thanksgiving. It's a day to express our gratitude and appreciation for all that God has done for us during this past year. But can I say, for the true child of God, every day is Thanksgiving, every day is a celebration. That's the attitude that we should have. And we're going to see that as we read through the psalm. So how should we respond when God comes? And so in Psalm 96, we're going to discover three responses to God which I believe allows us to live in the fullness of life. And the first one is simply giving God the glory that is due to him. [00:11:49] Giving God glory glorifying god appreciating what God has truly done for us. And you know, when we have this correct attitude towards who God is, it shifts us from frustration, despair, doubt and discouragement to hope, delight and joyful expectation. How many would like to be rid of all the negative emotions in your soul and have positive emotions replacing those? Anybody up for this? Anybody want to make that transfer today? You say, I don't want to live in despair, I don't want to live in doubt, I don't want to live frustrated or angry all the time. I want to be a happy camper. I want to be a hallelujah. I want to be a person that's got a song in my heart that there's joy in my life and it's not conditioned on what's happening to me. How many want to rise above your emotional state and also your circumstances in life and have your soul rise above those kinds of things? That's what we're talking about today. And it's possible when we bring glory to God, that word for glory is this word kebab, which literally means in the Hebrew, heavy. [00:13:09] God is heavy. [00:13:11] What do you mean God's heavy? Well, God's a person of substance. He's not a lightweight. That's what he's you know, God, when you talk about glory, we're talking about someone of real substance here. He's of great reputation. [00:13:26] He's worthy of our worship, praise and know. David begins by encouraging us to sing. [00:13:36] I think as Christians, we should be the best singers. [00:13:39] Why is that, Pastor? Do you know, actually, when you sing, if you keep doing it, even though you're not a great singer, you'll still get better. [00:13:47] I actually decided this week to look up, is there any physical benefit to singing? And I was shocked. There is. Do you know there's a physical benefit to singing? It actually releases things out of your lungs so that you actually build up immunity against colds and flus. [00:14:10] I'm just pointing you know why I know a lot about singing. My mother, she had a real rough life. I know she she was a country western singer. They, you know, they always sing the blues kind of thing. But anyways, we had a lot of music in our house and she was singing all the time. And, you know, one of the things she would do is I'd say a word, she'd start a song. It's like, Mom, I want to talk to you. And she starts singing another song. [00:14:36] But she was a singer. And here we see in Psalm 96, it says, sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to the Lord all the earth. [00:14:46] Some of you, I know you're a little shy when you come to church, you need to sing. [00:14:52] You need to sing. You go, yeah, but I don't feel like singing. Sing anyways. Because if you're going to let your emotions define who you are, you're going to be a person without a song. [00:15:05] And the enemy wants you not to have a song. So we need to have a song in our hearts. We need to learn how to know. Derek Kygner says this about this new song. The new song is not simply a piece newly composed, though it includes that, but it's a response that will match the freshness of his mercies, which are new every know. Tremper Longman, who wrote a book on God is a warrior. Because when you read the Old Testament, he's an Old Testament biblical scholar. He says, God's a warrior. And this idea of a new song, you're going to love this. The new song to God is a phrase that normally occurs in warfare context and implies that it's a shout of victory. [00:15:52] How many think that's amazing. A new song is a hymn of victory after God has made all things new by his defeat of the forces of evil. [00:16:03] Now, let's think about the celebratory moment for a second here, okay? How many where evil has been overcome? Don't you think there's a little bit of celebration? [00:16:17] Has anybody looked back in history, you know, when they found out that the war in Europe had come to an end? When it was declared in the newspapers, do you know? People were dancing in the streets. [00:16:29] They were all excited. Why were they? They were singing and jumping and rejoicing and tears in their eyes because servicemen were going to come home. There was no more loss of life. Conflict came to an end. Evil had been defeated. There was joy in that song. That's the picture that we're getting from Psalm 96. Sing a new song. Anybody ever get excited once in a while, go, woohoo. [00:16:58] You ever get that way? Anybody ever get like that? [00:17:02] Okay, now we're catching on. There's a sense of excitement, a sense of joy. That's what he's saying. [00:17:11] Think about every day we could be happy. Campers. I love the book of Lamentations. Not so much the whole book, but there's some good it's pretty brutal at times because it's talking about the fall of Jerusalem and how bad it was, right? It's a lament, right? But in the middle of the tears, listen to this verse. Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed. For his compassions never fail. They are what new. Every morning, great is your faithfulness. [00:17:48] You ever get up in the morning and go, hey, God, what new mercy am I going to discover today? [00:17:54] How many of you know if you got up with that thinking, you're looking, okay, God, what is it we're doing today? What's the new mercy you're going to show me today? How many think that's a different way of coming at the day? You're looking for the goodness of God in the day. Some people go, oh, it's Monday. [00:18:12] Come on now. Isn't that true? Yeah. Some people, you don't even want to be around in the mornings. [00:18:19] They don't know the secret. There are mercies out there. [00:18:23] There's new mercies today, right? [00:18:28] I like what Charles Spurgeon says. He says, do not let a day go by without reminding each other of God's grace. Otherwise we'll get worn down with the cares of this life. [00:18:40] I like that. We need to declare God's glory to the nations. We need to verbalize this not just through our lifestyle, but it's a warning something got messed up here. Okay, that's fine. I see what I'm doing. [00:19:03] I said I see what I'm doing. But I can't find that. [00:19:08] You know the problem with doing PowerPoint? I'll just tell it to you right now. You're following the PowerPoint and all of a sudden the slides are not in the right order somehow. Or there's a slide missing. And I'm not blaming the person that's helping me. I'm just saying sometimes I do these things to myself. [00:19:24] But let me go back here and say this. So what's the psalmist saying? When we reflect upon the Lord and his goodness, it should bring joy and a song to our heart, right? Think about that. Nt Wright I was listening to him summarize it's a little audio on Psalm 96. He says, this is a warning to the nations regarding idolatry. This text, because he's going to go on and talk about that. He said, the distinction is that Yahweh is the Creator. Idols are human made. [00:19:56] Do you know what idolatry really is? That you and I worship what we create. [00:20:02] We're creating that which we're worshiping. But God is the Creator. [00:20:09] You can't even make him up. He's beyond your comprehension and mind. God is beyond us, really? His thoughts are so far above our thoughts. His ways are so beyond our ways. Isn't that kind of a neat thought to think that God is actually way beyond us? I like that. It means that I don't have all the answers. I don't have a clue sometimes what's going on. That's okay with me because my eyes are not fixed on myself solving all the problems. I'm looking upwards and saying, god, this is out of my league. I mean, I need your help here. How many of ever you felt that way? Things come in your life, you go, this is way beyond my pay grade, God. That's why I'm on my knees talking to you about it. He says, don't look for glory or strength elsewhere other than from God. [00:20:54] A lot of times we're looking to human beings and we're disappointed in people. I'm going, yeah, you're going to be disappointed. Human beings are going to let us down. That's true. To praise us, to speak highly of it says, sing to the Lord, praise his name. Do we speak highly of God? [00:21:11] What do you have to say about God? [00:21:14] Not only are we to sing, but we're to praise God. And how many know when we are complaining, we're not praising. Do you know that's? The opposite. Has anybody figured that out? When we complain about the conditions of our lives, we're actually complaining about God's care and his love for oh, now I'm getting into meddling. See, this sermon was going so good. Pastor, why'd? You do know too many of us are tempted to complain about our state in life. The apostle Paul reminds us this has negative consequences within our soul. It says, do everything without complaining or murmuring or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation he's giving us. Paul is showing us the state of complaining or argumentative. Nature is a sign of immaturity. [00:22:13] If you think you're mature, if you're walking around complaining and murmuring and arguing, that's a sign of immaturity. [00:22:20] Worse, it's a sign of ingratitude. Notice the expression that when we stop complaining and arguing, we can become blameless and pure. [00:22:31] So if I'm complaining and murmuring, I'm not blameless and I'm not pure. [00:22:37] That's what it says. [00:22:40] What was the problem with the children of Israel? They're journeying through the wilderness. The wilderness is actually a picture of life. [00:22:46] God was with them. [00:22:48] Hey, even their clothes didn't wear out. God was making sure they were taken care of. There were some trials there, tests, right? [00:22:56] Their response wasn't very good. Anybody know that? Everybody read the Book of Numbers. They're not doing good there. They're complaining a lot. When we're constantly complaining about our situation in life, we're actually complaining about, know, taking care of. Well, you're not fair, God. Look at the way you're treating Know. Notice God's response to Israel as a result of their constant complaining. Does anybody want to read this? Okay, here it comes. Now, the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord. And when he heard them, what happened? [00:23:29] His anger was aroused. In other words, he's saying, you guys don't think that I love you. You guys don't know. You're not trusting me. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. [00:23:41] Doesn't sound good to me. Paul picks up on this. He says, do not grumble as some of them did and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as an example and were written down as warnings for us on whom the fulfillment of the age has come. So if you think you're standing, be firm. Be careful that you don't fall. [00:24:02] It's interesting that when we complain, it impacts our soul in a negative manner. Notice the psalmist describes what happens. I remembered you, O God, and I groaned, I mused, and my spirit grew faint. King James translates that word groan there as complained. In other words, when we're complaining, what we're doing is weakening our soul. We're giving in and we're giving up. [00:24:29] So what should we do when life's difficult? Okay, how many know that life gets tough? Anybody here figured that out? I'm going to tell you flat out, life is hard. [00:24:40] It's not easy. [00:24:42] I preached a sermon here this summer. I said, the day of death is better than the day of birth. What? [00:24:48] How does that make sense, Pastor? It's real simple. When you're dead, you don't have to deal with all the things that life throws your way. You're at the end of the journey. When you're born, you're just starting it. There's a lot of things you're going to face that are going to be difficult. [00:25:02] So if you think it gets easier as you get older. It doesn't. It just gets different challenges. [00:25:08] So how do we handle life when it's hard and it's going to get hard at times? [00:25:13] What should our attitude be? How do we handle these burdens? One of the dangers that we just slide into self pity. You know, it's all about me. Whoa. It's know, people are complaining. Know, I was born in Canada, terrible plight. [00:25:33] I had these parents. They made sure I ate every day. [00:25:38] I'm serious. We got kids out here complaining, and I know there's some that went through some hard things. I get all of that. But let's take a look at what Paul says to us as believers. So how do you handle when life is handing you lemons? Somebody said just make lemonade. Yeah, that's know. It says, be joyful always pray continually. [00:26:01] Give thanks in all circumstances. Now, he doesn't say give thanks for all circumstances, but he said you need to give thanks regardless of what's happening in your life, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. While Paul was in prison in Rome, he's writing a letter. [00:26:22] He starts out, I always give thanks to God for you guys, right? Then he says in chapter four this is, I think, my favorite chapter in the Bible, philippians four, rejoice in the Lord. [00:26:35] Where's Paul? [00:26:37] In jail. I'll say it again. [00:26:41] How many known you got to say it this many times. It's because we have a hard time doing this, right? He says, rejoice in the Lord always. I'm going to say it again. Rejoice. [00:26:52] I guarantee you, if you start practicing this every day, I'm just going to be a thanker I'm just going to be a praiser. I'm just going to be a worshipper. I'm going to just start rejoicing. It doesn't matter what happens. I'm going to just start thanking God at all times. Something's going to happen to your soul. It's going to happen inside of you. Something's going to pop up. And the peace, he goes on and says, so how do you handle it? Do not be anxious about anything. [00:27:15] Sometimes we do get moments of anxiety. It happens to all of us. Pastor you ever get anxious? Once in a while, but I know this verse. What does it tell me to do? It says pray and petition God. [00:27:30] How? With Thanksgiving. [00:27:34] Focus on the Thanksgiving part. I'm talking to God, but I'm talking him with full adoration and expression of gratitude. And I'm going, hey, this may be a big deal to me. It's no big deal to you, God. [00:27:45] This may be a challenge to me, but it's not a challenge to you, right? This may be really hard and difficult and may even seem humanly impossible to humanity, but it's not beyond your capability. [00:27:57] Present your request to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in so you know where does Paul come up with these ideas anyways? Well, the Holy Spirit. Yeah, but where in the you know, listen to what David writes. I will extol the Lord when at all times his praise will only be on my lips when life is going good. Is that what it says? [00:28:28] It says, his praise will always be on my lips. [00:28:33] Can you thank God with tears in your eyes? Sure you can. Can you thank God when life is not working the way you want it to? Of course you can. Do you know what happens then? I'm going to preach the sermon. I've preached it years ago, but it's such a good sermon. It's called managing your emotions. And that's something some of us need to learn, how to manage our emotions. Anybody believe that's important? Do you know God manages his emotions? Do you know God sometimes gets so ticked off that if he wanted to, he could have wiped our whole planet to nothing? But he says, you know, I'm not going to act on how I felt. I'm going to act on who I am. [00:29:09] Aren't you glad that God doesn't just act on his emotions? [00:29:13] He acts out of his character. [00:29:16] You ever have somebody do you wrong? [00:29:18] And my emotions at this moment are, I'm not happy with this. Anybody ever been unhappy with some situation or some person? Anybody here ever been unhappy with some situation or some person? The rest of you are not telling the truth. [00:29:36] Come on, now. It's true. We've all been there, right? So what are you going to do about it? [00:29:42] You can pout, you can punch, you can do all kinds of crazy stuff, or you can decide, okay, what does God tell me to do? Step one, forgive them. Step two, pray for them. Step three, do good to them. How many know it's really difficult to be nice to somebody and do really nice things for them when they've been really nasty to you. How many go, that's not normal. [00:30:05] If you start to do that, people go, what's wrong with you? [00:30:10] No, they won't. You know what will happen? They'll feel bad about what they just did. Usually people back up. They're not used to that behavior. They're used to getting retaliation coming at them. All of a sudden you're being nice to them. [00:30:24] You should try this. Has anybody ever tried this? It's really amazing what starts happening. The person starts deescalating real fast, like, I mean, right now. And they start backing up and they start backing down, and they start becoming really nice really fast. A lot of them. [00:30:42] That's the way they respond. They don't know how to handle it because it's so rare when that happens, you know, the Bible actually works. [00:30:52] It's real practical. [00:30:55] The problem we have is we know these verses in our head, but we don't do them. And then we go, boy, I'm trying to teach you how to live life to. Its fullest. You got to do what it says. My soul will boast in the Lord and let the afflicted hear and rejoice. How many know we never bless people by our unbelief and misery? How many know that's true? [00:31:16] If I have a faithless moment, don't utter it. It's not going to bring any blessing to anybody else. [00:31:23] But you know, when you and I are full of faith and encouragement, that brings encouragement to other people, says, glorify the Lord with me. Let us exalt his name together. [00:31:37] As a matter of fact, Paul says this in the context of life. He said, I've learned to be content in any and every situation. How many think that's amazing contentment? How many go, some people, they can't pay enough to find contentment. They're looking for contentment. Paul said, it doesn't matter the outward circumstances. I could have a lot or a little. Doesn't matter, I'm content. How do you get to that stage? Paul secret. Here it comes. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. I can do it because Jesus is in me. He gives me the strength to be able to not allow the outward external world define who I am and how I'm going to ultimately feel, period. I'm not going to let my circumstances define my emotions. I'm going to make a choice to worship God anyways. And I find that when I start worshipping God, my emotions change. And all of a sudden there's a joy in my heart. And I go, you know what? This is minor. God's bigger than this stuff, right? Get your eyes on God. We're focused on the problems, that's the problem. [00:32:41] So he said he was content in every situation. [00:32:46] We need to communicate God's grace to others. We're not only to praise God, we're to proclaim his salvation, his glory, his mighty deeds to others. Sing to the Lord praise his name, proclaim his salvation Day after day you can walk around, go, you know how many know? This is really great when you talk like this, you know, God is so good to me. You won't believe what he did for me today. Well, what did he do? Tell him what he did. [00:33:14] Man, I feel great this morning. Isn't God good? [00:33:19] Some of you are getting out of bed and going, I feel miserable, my body aches. I've got all kinds of aches and pains and problems. Praise them anyways you say, what do you got to praise them for? Pastor hey, I'm his daughter. I'm his son. Hey, what mercies are we going to see this morning? Lord, I'm looking for them. Open the door. Hey, listen to those little birds singing at -40 hey, I got into my vehicle the other day it was so cold this was last winter and I had all these birds sitting on my head. The hedge that we have there and they're all singing away at -40. I went, wow, I'm impressed, guys. [00:34:01] That's the mercy of God. They could sing at -40. I was just like so I started researching how can birds handle -40 I'm intrigued they were praising God. [00:34:17] Okay, keep moving on here. I'm having my own Hallelujah time. Like David said goes on here. He says, declare his glory among the nations as marvelous deeds among all people. Charles Spurgeon said the gospel is the clearest revelation of himself. Salvation outshines creation and providence. Therefore, let our praises overflow in that direction. In other words, if you can't think of anything to thank God for, thank God that you're saved. Thank God for his mercy in bringing you into his kingdom. Thank God that you have eternal life. Thank God that you're going to spend eternity with him. Isn't that amazing? There's always something to thank God for. That's what we're getting at here. We are to give God the credit. [00:35:00] When you ascribe things to God as the psalmist is telling us to do, it means we're giving God the credit where credit is due. It says ascribe to the Lord, o families of the nation ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord glory, do his name bring an offering and come into his courts. [00:35:19] When we speak of bringing an offering immediately, we think of money. Which that's part of it. But that's not all of it. That's only a part of know. Listen to what Hebrews says through Jesus. Therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise the fruit of our lips that confess his names. So we're confessing to God. We're expressing it verbally before Almighty God. You know, the Bible says, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. So listen to yourself. You go. I have no idea what I sound like. Tape yourself for a whole day and go, man, am I ever a complainer and a whiner. Smarten up. [00:35:58] Find out what you're really saying to people. [00:36:01] Have your family say to you if I start complaining, let me know you're complaining. [00:36:09] I got to stop that behavior. It's not good. I'm a whiner and a complainer. Do you know I was whining and complaining one time on vacation. [00:36:20] How many already get the sense of irony here, sitting on a beach on a sunny day in north Vancouver. [00:36:27] And God finally said, stop whining. You say? What do you mean he said that? Well, he didn't talk audibly, obviously. But I'm sitting here looking around. It's sunny. It's beautiful. Sailboats are all around me. I love the ocean. I'm looking at this beautiful scene and I'm saying to myself, what are you whining about? And then I'm reading Psalm 16, and Psalm 16 has some beautiful passages. It says the boundary lines have fallen to you in pleasant places. You have a delightful inheritance. God's saying, look, buddy, you've got so much going for you. You should just be quiet and be thankful. [00:37:02] Then I had this thought come into my mind. Holy Spirit gives me these thoughts like, you know, if you need something, I can give it to you and if you don't have it, you don't need it. Next thought, if I really need something, it's mine because I have a father who cares about me. So stop whining that end of that conversation in a hurry. That was the end of it. I just started going, wow, God, thank you for giving me a little wake up call today. How many can see that was over 30 years ago. I never forgot that conversation. [00:37:32] Don't whine, don't complain, I get it. [00:37:39] Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased. Look at the second response that brings fullness of life. Give the gifts do him. [00:37:50] We can verbally express our praise to God, but God says you got to go beyond that. How many know the greatest gift you give to God is the gift of yourself? [00:37:59] Now, when you think of yourself, what you're thinking your body, you're thinking of your energy, you're thinking of your time, you're thinking of your talents, which all were given to you by God. So God says, give yourself to you. Know, I love this. Charles Spurgeon says, when assembling for public worship, we should make a point of bringing with us a contribution to his cause. According to that ancient word, none of you shall appear before me empty. Listen to this. In Exodus he says, celebrate the feast of unleavened bread for seven days. Eat bread made without yeast as I commanded you to do. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Abid, for in that month you came out of Egypt. No one is to appear before me. What? [00:38:43] Empty handed. You know what I think's happened in the Christian church today? A lot of people are thinking that God is the genie in the bottle. We come to God, we go, I need this, I need this, I need this, I need this, God, I want this, I want this, I want this, god, I'm telling you what to do. I'm rubbing the bottle. These are my three wishes. Everybody catch on. [00:39:02] That's not how you come to God. [00:39:04] It's not coming and demanding. I think there's a place that says, give us this day our daily bread. But why don't we come to God and say, god, here's my life. [00:39:13] I'm coming to you with my hands full. I'm giving you everything I've got. [00:39:18] I don't understand in my mind how we could say to God, I'm not going to give you anything. [00:39:24] He's given us everything. [00:39:26] Think about it for a minute. [00:39:29] When people walk around going, well, I'm not going to give my money to God. [00:39:36] I'm going, what? That's a weird way of thinking, your money. Can I just shock you guys? You don't own a thing. [00:39:46] You don't even own your own body. [00:39:48] What god gave you that body god gave you those brains. God gave you that job. God gave you time. God gave you health, god gave you energy. [00:39:57] You would be nothing apart from God. [00:40:00] It's true. Do you know what God's going to do when you get to heaven? What did you do with what all I gave you? I consumed it on myself. [00:40:09] Well, that's going to go over real good about that time. You're going to look into his eyes and he's going, I gave you everything. What'd you give me? Nothing. [00:40:20] How do you think that's going to fly? [00:40:23] I don't think that's going to go well, personally. [00:40:26] I think what the point of the whole story is this, that you and I start realizing that we're here for Him. [00:40:33] As a matter of fact, when I read the Bible carefully, I recognize that you were created for his pleasure, for his honor, for his glory. [00:40:44] A lot of Christians go, I'm not doing anything bad, pastor, are you doing anything good? [00:40:50] We keep thinking sin as I'm not doing bad things, I'm going, but what good things are you doing? Because, you know, there are sins called the sins of omission. To know, to do good and not to do it, that's a sin. Whatever is not a faith, that's sin. [00:41:06] When I have it in my power to do good to other people, and I don't, that's a sin. When I withhold from God, I'm sinning against God. [00:41:16] Do we see it? [00:41:19] We can come. Oh, God, I'm so thankful of thanksgiving, all the good blessings you gave me. I'm saying, listen, Thanksgiving, you want to live life to its fullest? This is how you do it. You give God everything you are and you serve Him with every fiber of your being, and you're filled with gratitude towards God. And at the end of the day, you're going, wow, am I ever experiencing life to its ultimate? Because I've discovered one thing 42 years as a pastor. The unhappy people are self focused, and the happy people are focused upward and outward. [00:41:52] It's the way it works, don't you think? I have not examined human behavior after all these years, I see it. [00:42:01] The happiest people aren't thinking about themselves. They're constantly thinking about ways to bring glory to God and help to others. And the most miserable campers that I talk to are the ones that are totally self absorbed. [00:42:15] And, you know, I was there, so I know what I'm talking about. It's been a long journey from self pity to laying down my life over all these years and finally growing up and learning it's not about me, never has been about me. It's about you, lord, how powerful is that? [00:42:34] You know what real worship is? I like what Evelyn Underhill says. She said, worship is the total adoring response of man to the one eternal God self revealed in time. [00:42:44] Warren worsby says, we do not worship God for what we get out of it, but because he's worthy of it. Tozer says, whoever seeks God as a means towards a desired end will not find God because God will not be used. Wow, that's strong. [00:42:59] So not only is worship expressed with our lips ascribing to the Lord glory to his name, it's also expressed in the way we give our resources that he has blessed us with. [00:43:13] We see that in how we live, which is an act of worship. Do you know worship isn't just what you're doing here on Sunday morning. The worship is the totality of your life and how you live it. That's worship. [00:43:28] Did you know that? Read Romans twelve, one and two. [00:43:33] It says it right there, so powerfully. It says, we come into a he says, I beg of you, brothers and sisters, to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable act of worship. You got to give your whole self to God. You think throwing $20 in an offering plate is worship and then walking away and doing your own thing? [00:43:59] I will even say this. People who are tithing and I believe in tithing, I've tithed for years. The tithing is important. But I'll say this. If you think that you're giving to God because you're goes, no, that's just a part of your life. That's an expression of it. But it's the totality of your life. [00:44:19] As a matter of fact, Peter goes on, holiness is part of the expression of it. What is holiness? You're set apart for God's purpose. Did you know that's what holiness means? [00:44:29] You're set apart. The Holy Bible is God's word. This is set apart for God worship. The Lord in the splendor of his holiness, tremble before Him all the earth. This is Peter says, prepare your minds for action. Be self control. Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed as obedient children. Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. In other words, don't fulfill selfish desires. He says, but just as he who called you is holy, he's separate. He's different then he's above us. In many ways, God is beyond us. So be holy in all you do. In other words, live a separated life. And let me close with this last point, because I'm just going to mention it is the gladness that it brings. It will bring gladness. [00:45:18] That's the result. When we truly worship God, if you keep reading the psalm, you'll see what happens. He starts talking about judgment. And I'm going to close with this thought. [00:45:32] It's really God bringing. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. And I like what Nt Wright says, judgment means putting things right. God is coming back to sort out all the injustice. Isn't that amazing? See, we look at judgment. God's coming to judge the like I'm going, no, it's good it's a good thing. Come on back, Jesus. Look how messed up we are down here. Could you please sort out the mess for us? [00:46:00] Anybody ever felt like, you know, I was treated poorly, this was unjust. This person oppressed this person. This person violated this person. This person did this. God says, I'm going to sort it all out. [00:46:11] Come on, Jesus. Come on back. [00:46:14] Come on back, Jesus. We need you on this planet. We're messed up. [00:46:19] Isn't that true? Come on, let's be realistic. [00:46:22] You know, we're busy bickering, fighting, arguing, complaining, blaming. Isn't that the human condition? I see. It isn't amazing that you and I don't have to be like that. If we will allow God to have first priority in us, I'm going to have a stand as we close. [00:46:45] I know this is a little radical Thanksgiving prayer, but I think what I'm trying to say to you how many of you'd say, I want to live life to its fullest, I got my hand up, let's live this way? [00:46:59] What do we do then, Pastor? [00:47:02] We need to learn how to give thanks to God, regardless of our circumstance and of our emotional state of well being. [00:47:13] Don't let your emotions define you. I'm not saying deny them. They're real. Your emotions are real. [00:47:21] We all have moments, discouragement, maybe doubt, little anxiety thrown in here and there. All these things come to us, right? [00:47:32] But if I was to sit down here and give you, which I do, I have a doctorate degree. So I'm going to write out a prescription for you right now. [00:47:41] Every day when you wake up, here's your prescription. [00:47:45] Find the new mercy in that day. [00:47:48] Number two, I want you to start out just worshipping God and praising Him and thanking Him and adoring Him and delighting in Him and earnestly pursuing Him in the morning. That's step one. Step two, then you start looking for the mercies. How many say, this is already living a little differently, Pastor? Step three, keeping it in my mind that I'm on assignment today. [00:48:11] Do you know you're all on assignment? Every day, God goes, I'm looking for instruments to use in my world. People that are going to bring the presence of the living God into situations, they're going to bring hope and encouragement. They're going to pray for people, they're going to give to people. They're going to be generous, they're going to be forgiving, they're going to be prayerful. They're going to be loving. I'm assigning you these guys look for your assignments today. There's people that I want you to talk to, pray for, care about, think about. [00:48:39] We say, well, yeah, but Pastor, I'm stuck in my home. I can't get out. Hey, listen, you can pray. [00:48:44] You can pray. [00:48:47] I noticed one thing. As I'm getting older, my prayer life is going up. How many know that's true? When you start slowing down, your prayer life should be going up. [00:48:58] I can see things around. I can see people. We were talking the men in the room before we came to pray. And I was so beautiful. We were all admitting because we're a little older, when we were younger, we did a lot of stupid stuff. [00:49:10] When you're young, you do dumb things sometimes, just being honest. And when you get a little older, you look back and go, that was dumb. At the time, you didn't think it was dumb. Maybe you thought it was fun or kooky or crazy or whatever. Some things you did were just stupid and they were dumb. And you actually hurt some people. As you get a little older, you go back, God, thank God You forgave me for that stuff. And then you see young people doing that. Old people don't get mad at young people. Just pray for them. [00:49:36] Come on now. You were there. [00:49:40] You were there. Let's be honest. All the old people were. You not there. Come on now. So here's your assignment. Older people, stop complaining about the younger people. Start praying for them. [00:49:57] Come alongside of them and say, hey, you know what? I did that same stupid thing. Let me give you five pointers to move beyond that because you seem to be stuck there. Don't put them down. Just help them move on, right? Are we catching on? [00:50:12] How many say, I want to live life to its fullest. I'm a child of God. I want to experience it to its fullest. I want to pray for you today. I want to pray for you today. Amen. Let's bring glory to God. Let's bring glory to God. Let's give God great. Thanks. Let's learn how to sing with all of our hearts. Let's learn how to worship Him with our entire being. Let's be filled with gratitude. [00:50:38] Father, we thank you this morning. We are so thankful today. We are so amazed at Your goodness. We have been so blessed in so many ways. Our heads are spinning. You said, You've given us every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. Lord, You've rescued us from the kingdom of darkness. You've brought us into the kingdom of Your Son. Lord, we're going to spend eternity with you. We thank you that you're a forgiving God. We thank you this morning that even though sometimes life is challenging and difficult and hard, Lord, we don't have to let our emotions define our life and our circumstances. But in everything, we're going to give you thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus, we thank you. You've given us amazing weapons. [00:51:23] Thanksgiving, praise, prayer, forgiveness. These are powerful tools in life so that we can live life to its fullest. We're not going to let people define our lives by their behavior. We're going to define the life that we're living by the behavior that you're helping us have in response to the behavior of others. We thank you for that, Father. In Jesus name amen. God bless you. As you leave this morning.

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