The Lord has done great things for us

Psalm 126

A Song of Ascents.

When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter
and our tongue with joyful shouting;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
 The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.

Restore our captivity, O Lord,
as the streams in the South.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
he who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.1

It seemed too good to be true that they were able to return to Jerusalem. It was like a dream—they couldn’t believe it. Now they want to give a testimony to the world.

The remnant of Israel that returned to their land after the Babylonian captivity does not exhaust the meaning of this psalm. It also looks forward to their national restoration when their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, returns.

Let me quote Dr. Gaebelein’s comment at the conclusion of this Psalm. “Beautiful is the ending of this Psalm of prophecy. We must think first of all of Him who came in humility and sowed His precious seed with tears, our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Only His Father knows the many tears which He shed in His presence in secret prayer . . .  And it is perfectly proper to apply this to ourselves also. So let us weep and scatter the seed! ‘Let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not’ (Gal. 6:9)” (The Book of Psalms, p. 456).2

1New American Standard Bible (NASB)Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.

2J. Vernon McGee, Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983).

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Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations…

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Therefore GO and make disciples of all nations… —Matthew 28:19

Rick and I are blessed to belong to Full Throttle Biker Church, which was founded in 2005. We have met as a church in several previous venues, and are currently located in Prescott Valley, Arizona. However, we’ve been praying lately about where the Lord wants us next because we seem to be busting the seams of our small church area. Here’s a little more about our church, so you can get a feel for what we believe. The photo above is from one of our ministry runs.

Celtic Cross Motorcycle Ministries, is a Christian outreach ministry founded by our church, with a mission of evangelism. Matthew 28:19 is the Scripture upon which our church and our ministry is based.

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The statements below are shared by Full Throttle Biker Church and Celtic Cross M/M.

Mission Statement

We are a church dedicated to serving the community in the Prescott/Quad Cities Arizona area. We are mission and field-oriented, and believe in delivering the undiluted Word of God “in plain ol’ English.” We are a Patriotic American church that supports the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and firmly believes that the United States of America is a Christian Nation. We are a 2nd Amendment-supporting church, so firearms are welcome.

Statement of Faith

What we believe about the Bible

We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired of God, and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Acts 17:11; and Isaiah 8:20)

What we believe about God

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: FATHER, SON and HOLY SPIRIT.

GOD THE FATHER: We believe in God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom and measureless in power. We rejoice that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Matthew 5:48; Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3; Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:2-3; Psalm 103:19; Ephesians 1:11; 1 Kings 8:27; and Psalm 90:2)

THE SON: We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, sinless in His life, and making atonement for the sin of the world by His shed blood and death on the cross. We believe in His bodily resurrection, His ascension into heaven, and His high priestly intercession for His people. We believe in His personal, visible and triumphant return to the world according to His promise. (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:14; Hebrews 10:9; John 1:29; 1 John 2:1-2; John 14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; and Acts 1:11)

THE HOLY SPIRIT: We believe in the Holy Spirit, who came forth from God to convict the world of sin, to convince the world of righteousness and of judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify, and comfort those who believe in Jesus Christ. (John 15:26; John 16:8-11; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; and 1 Peter 1:1-3)

What we believe about People

MAN: We believe that man was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God; and that all human beings are sinners by nature and by choice. (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:15-17; and Romans 3:10-12, 23)

SALVATION: We believe that God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV) We believe that all who receive, by faith, Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are born again of the Holy Spirit and therefore become children of God. We believe that justification means that a person is declared righteous in the sight of God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. (John 1:12; Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 1:13; 2:8-10)

STATUS IN ETERNITY: We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the everlasting, conscious punishment of the lost. (Matthew 25:46)

HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY: We believe that every human being has responsibility to God alone in all matters of faith. (Romans 14:11-12)

What we believe about the Church

 THE CHURCH: We believe in the Church—a living, spiritual body—in which Christ is the Head and of which all regenerated people are members. We believe that a visible church is a company of believers in Jesus Christ, buried with Him in baptism and associated for the purpose of leading believers toward maturity through worship, instruction, fellowship and evangelism. We believe that Christ has committed to the local church the ordinances of Baptism and Communion to be observed until He comes, and that Christ has committed to the church the responsibility to proclaim to a lost world their need to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and to recognize Him as Lord. We believe that human betterment and social improvement are essential products of the Gospel. (Ephesians 1:22-23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; and John 8:31-32)

ATTITUDE TOWARD CIVIL GOVERNMENT: We believe that each church is independent and autonomous, and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority; therefore, Church and State must be kept separate, as having different functions, each fulfilling its duties free from the dictation or patronage of the other. We also believe that it is the responsibility of the church (individually and corporately) to live in submission to the government, as long as that does not violate Scripture or conscience and to pray for those who are in authority over us. (1 Timothy 2:1-3; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14; Acts 5:29; Matthew 23:10; Romans 13:1-7)

The Not-So-Fine Print

  • Full Throttle Biker Church is located at 8680 E. Highway 69, Suite A, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314.
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Part of our church family

  • Leadership: Pastor “Psycho” Joe Dugan, Pastor “Digger” Tim Roeder and Pastor “Smokey” Larry Kimmel.
Pastor Joe

Pastor Joe

Pastors Tim and Larry

Pastors Tim and Larry

  •  We are a fellowship that supports our Veterans, our Troops, and prays constantly for the return of God to our country and government.
  • Church hours:
    • Sunday —Praise, Worship and Fellowship: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
    • Monday —Veterans’ Coffee Hangout: 8:00 am – 11:00 am
    • WednesdayBible study: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Our worship team

If you live in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, or Paulden, Arizona, please visit us to see what we’re all about.  You do not have to be a biker to be part of our church. You can find out more about Full Throttle Biker Church here and Celtic Cross M/M here.

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How to strengthen your faith

There is a great question and answer section on Billy Graham’s site titled “Answers.” Today’s post is from there and is an excellent reminder for all of us. While you’re there, please check out the wealth of resources at Billy Graham’s wonderful site.

Q: I admit my faith is weak, but I know it would be strong if I could only see Jesus with my own eyes, even for just one minute. Why shouldn’t I ask God to do this for me?

A: God has already given you everything you need to make your faith stronger. Instead of praying for Jesus to appear to you somehow (which He never promised to do), you should be praying instead for the discipline to use the means He has given you to strengthen your faith. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

I often think of the similarity between physical strength and spiritual strength. What do we need to stay physically strong and healthy? We need two things: food and exercise. If we don’t eat, we’ll grow weaker, waste away and eventually die. And if we don’t exercise, we’ll also grow weak and won’t be useful or helpful to others.

Read the rest here.

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God is Looking for Intercessors

This is another of Greg Laurie’s great daily devotionals on his Harvest.org site. Why not browse his site while you’re there reading the rest of his post?

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God is Looking for Intercessors

By Greg Laurie

Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”

 

Moses had many frustrations with the Israelites. He had complained to God on multiple occasions about them. But when God told Moses that He was going to wipe them out, Moses pleaded with God to relent.

Read the rest here.

Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

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Holy Spirit, You are welcome here

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I hope you enjoyed last Sunday’s Holy, Holy, Holy Praise and Worship post. I’m excited to see what God has planned for these Sunday posts!

Our lives are so filled with activity and work that even though we attend church on Sunday (those of us who can), do we allow ourselves to relax and rest in our corporate praise and worship? Or do thoughts of all the to-do’s on our lists keep us from fully worshiping and praising our Creator?

I’ve been listening to this song so much that it is always playing in my mind lately. Whether you are able to worship with your church congregation or are in the privacy of your home, allow the Holy Spirit to saturate your heart and mind while viewing this video.

Holy Spirit
(Chorus)

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory,God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

The video below is a version of “Holy Spirit” sung by  Francesca Battistelli with lyrics:

If for any reason you cannot view the video, go here to read the lyrics, written by Bryan & Katie Torwalt.

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What is Habakkuk Syndrome?

Blogos is a great outreach of Got Questions Ministries. It is a collection of blogs that are—according to the site—”dedicated to the Logos – Jesus Christ and the Bible.”

If you recall, I did a series on Habakkuk last year. You can read it here, here and here. This article by S. Michael Houdmann fits in very well with the series. While you’re at Blogos, take the time to look around and read some of the other great blog posts.

 

What is Habakkuk Syndrome?

By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries

Other than in my daily “through the Bible in a year” readings, I don’t read the minor prophets very often. But, my favorite book in the minor prophets is Habakkuk. I read through Habakkuk recently, and I was astounded at how easily the message could have been written to the USA in 2015 instead of Israel in 600 BC.

To summarize the Book of Habakkuk:

Habakkuk asks God how long He is going to allow the wickedness in Judah to go unpunished (1:2-4).

God declares that He is going to send the Chaldeans/Babylonians to destroy Judah (1:5-11).

Habakkuk questions God as to how He can use the Chaldeans when they are even worse than Judah (1:12-2:1).

God essentially tells Habakkuk to trust Him, and assures Habakkuk that He will judge the Chaldeans as well (2:2-20).

Habakkuk declares his faith in God and trusts in His salvation (3:1-19).

Living in the USA in 2015, I sometimes feel like Habakkuk. It blows me away how quickly the USA has descended into depraved wickedness. Romans 1:28-32 could be our national slogan.

Read the rest here.

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Living in Deep Darkness

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I will give you the treasures of darkness. —Isaiah 45:3

In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are special rooms devoted to the spinning of the world’s finest lace, all with the most delicate patterns. The rooms are kept completely dark, except for the light that falls on the developing pattern, from one very small window. Only one person sits in each small room, where the narrow rays of light fall upon the threads he is weaving, for lace is always more beautifully and delicately woven when the weaver himself is in the dark, with only his work in the light.

Sometimes the darkness in our lives is worse, because we cannot even see the web we are weaving or understand what we are doing. Therefore we are unable to see any beauty of any possible good arising from our experience. Yet if we are faithful to forge ahead and “if we do not give up” (Galations 6:9), someday we will know that the most exquisite work of our lives was done during those days when it was the darkest.

If you seem to be living in deep darkness because God is working in strange and mysterious ways, do not be afraid. Simply go forward in faith and in love, never doubting Him. He is watching and will bring goodness and beauty from all of your pain and tears. –J. R. Miller (from Streams in the Desert Devotional)

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What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?

Another good one from the GotQuestions? site. This one was last week’s Question of the Week.

Question: “What does the Bible mean that we are not to judge others?”

Answer: Jesus’ command not to judge others could be the most widely quoted of His sayings, even though it is almost invariably quoted in complete disregard of its context. Here is Jesus’ statement: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Many people use this verse in an attempt to silence their critics, interpreting Jesus’ meaning as “You don’t have the right tell me I’m wrong.” Taken in isolation, Jesus’ command “Do not judge” does indeed seem to preclude all negative assessments. However, there is much more to the passage than those three words.

The Bible’s command that we not judge others does not mean we cannot show discernment. Immediately after Jesus says, “Do not judge,” He says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” (Matthew 7:6). A little later in the same sermon, He says, “Watch out for false prophets. . . . By their fruit you will recognize them” (verses 15–16). How are we to discern who are the “dogs” and “pigs” and “false prophets” unless we have the ability to make a judgment call on doctrines and deeds? Jesus is giving us permission to tell right from wrong.

Read more here.

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This is Impossible for God to Do

This is from another of my favorite blogs, Radical, which:

exists to serve the church in accomplishing the mission of Christ…making disciples who make disciples who make disciples throughout the world – from our neighbors across the street to the unreached people groups across the globe – all for the glory of God.

Read on!
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in hope of eternal life,
which God, who never lies,
promised before the ages began.
—Titus 1:2

This is Impossible for God to Do

By David Burnette

It may surprise you to learn that there’s something God can’t do.

Of course, Jesus tells us that with God “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), and we certainly don’t want to deny that God is all-powerful or that he has all authority. No one can thwart his purposes (Daniel 4:35). Still, according to Scripture, there is something that God can’tdo, but it turns out that it’s actually for our good—he cannot lie. This attribute of God, his faithfulness, is the last of several snapshots we’ve taken of his character (see also God’s holiness, mercy, and wrath). To know that God “never lies” (Titus 1:2) should change the way we think about and respond to him.

Lies and Truth

It goes without saying that human relationships are often marked by unfaithfulness. Marriages, friendships, and businesses suffer as a result of dishonesty and deception. When it comes to our political leaders, we don’t even expect them to fulfill their campaign promises. Sometimes our unfaithfulness is intentional, but often we simply forget to do what we said, or else we are unable to keep our word due to circumstances or limitations. Whatever the case, we are often wary of placing too much confidence in people or institutions. Thankfully, we don’t need to be skeptical when it comes to God.

Read more here, and please spend some time looking around the awesome Radical site.

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The closer His embrace

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He has chosen not to heal me,
but to hold me.
The more intense the pain,
the closer His embrace.
-Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing:
Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering,
Pain, and God’s Sovereignty

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