August 28

Pastor’s Note

Today we read what may have been sung as an antiphonal song, with one group of singers answering the other. Imagine the power of this kind of refrain sounding out from God’s people—“for his steadfast love endures forever.” After yesterday’s call in 1 Corinthians 8 to lay down our rights, Paul testifies to the way he modeled this kind of sacrifice in his missionary work among the Corinthians. We should remember how important a good role model is, not only to look to them, but also to be one in our everyday lives.

— Pastor Mike

Psalms 136-138

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew [1] Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

How Shall We Sing the Lord‘s Song?

137:1 By the waters of Babylon,
 there we sat down and wept,
 when we remembered Zion.
On the willows [2] there
 we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
 required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
 “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord‘s song
 in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
 let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
 if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
 above my highest joy!

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
 the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
 down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
 blessed shall he be who repays you
 with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
 and dashes them against the rock!

Give Thanks to the Lord

Of David.

138:1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
 before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
 and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
 for you have exalted above all things
 your name and your word. [3]
On the day I called, you answered me;
 my strength of soul you increased. [4]

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
 for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
 for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
 but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
 you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
 and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
 your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
 Do not forsake the work of your hands.

1 Corinthians 9

Paul Surrenders His Rights

9:1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, [5] as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, [6] lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Footnotes

[1] 136:15 Hebrew shook off
[2] 137:2 Or poplars
[3] 138:2 Or you have exalted your word above all your name
[4] 138:3 Hebrew you made me bold in my soul with strength
[5] 9:5 Greek a sister as wife
[6] 9:27 Greek I pummel my body and make it a slave

  • Debbie Maxwell

    1 Corinthians 9:22-23 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
    1 Cor. 9:26-27 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

    I know sometimes the Lord will take people’s natural, or “born with” talents and abilities (like Paul) and use them in that way for the Gospel…. but many, many times He will use a “willing” born again believer to accomplish tremendous tasks for His kingdom.

    Prior to conversion, Saul/Paul was a powerful, intelligent and dutiful man carrying out his responsibilities… and after conversion, God used those same abilities to carry out His will; but Paul’s bigger change was brought about internally; his heart softened, the thorn brought about humility, he became loving and kind, and I’m sure NOTHING like the Saul he was prior to conversion.

    Application; So… what is the Holy Spirit working on in my/our heart and mind today. What part of sanctification am I/we stalled in, stumbling in, not wanting to move forward in….

    We know that He has begun a good work in us if we are saved! (Phil. 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.) (glory to God)

    And of course like the Apostle Paul, who remained completely focused on his calling, to reach the lost for Christ, which helps when we can get too side-tracked on our own sanctification, and lose sight of the bigger picture, a lost a dying world.

    As our senior Pastor regularly says; “So let’s get at it”.

    • CheriClark

      It also spoke to me that Paul din’t run around aimlessly. There was a purpose. There was effort. There was focus – on the task at hand. And that task was to proclaim Jesus. May we run the race well – with planning and perseverance.

    • Anne Ventura

      What part of sanctification am I/we stalled in, stumbling in, not wanting to move forward in….Reveal this to me Lord.

  • CheriClark

    OT

    Ps 138:8 8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.

    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

    Then: God cares for His people. He will preserve and protect them.

    Always: God cares for those He loves.

    Now: How marvelous is this! God loves me. God cares for me. God protects me. He will fulfill His purpose for me. I do not need to fret. I do not need to be afraid. I am in His hands. Praise the Lord for His love for me.

    NT

    1Cor 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

    Then: Paul is comparing athletic endeavors to the work of evangelism – a familiar theme for him. He encourages then to run as to obtain the prize. As he encourages them to run so, we should also.

    Always: We should pursue the souls of others with purpose, planning, and perseverance.

    Now: Acknowledging that God is the One who saves He has also called us to the Great Commission – to be about the business of spreading the Gospel. If an athlete wishes to win his race his plans for it. He trains for it. He works at it. He puts energy and effort into it. So should we. We should train – are we reading God’s Word. We should prepare. Are we all prayed up? Are we putting effort into it – actively engaging others in conversations about Jesus. May we run the race as if to win the prize. May we serve as if we mean it.

    • Anne Ventura

      May we run the race as if to win the prize. May we serve as if we mean it. Yes, may I be faithful!

  • Anne Ventura

    Psalm 136:26

    Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    Psalm 138:7

    7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
 you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
 and your right hand delivers me.

    Lord, I know you protect and comfort in times of trouble. You put those with whom you have taught and gifted to help us in our time of need. May I remain steadfast in my love for you. As far as the ends of the earth reach Lord, is how much I am reminded of my need in you.

    1 Corinthians 9:24

    Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

    Lord, swiftly and steadfastly equip me daily, as I must run, striving to reach the end to which the prize is, like none which can be obtained here on earth.

    • CheriClark

      Yes, may we serve as if we mean it.

  • http://www.stevebeverly.com/ Steve Beverly

    1 Corinthians 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

    BEING disqualified… The Greek word DISQUALIFIED MEANS “DISAPPROVED AFTER TESTING” NOT EVIDENCE THAT A CHRISTIAN CAN LOSE HIS/HER SALVATION. A CAREFUL DISTINCTION SHOULD BE MADE BETWEEN THE “prize” AND THE “gift”. THE FREE GIFT OF JUSTIFICATION CANNOT BE THE RESULT OF GOOD WORKS (SEE ROMANS 4:1-8). HOWEVER THE PRIZE OR CROWN IS THE REWARD FOR ENDURANCE AND SUFFERING FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST (SEE PHIL. 1:29; 1 TIM. 2:12).

    discipline my body and keep it under control… MY SPEECH, MY ACTIONS. GOD HELP ME TO DO THIS TODAY!!

  • Alyssa Cuccia

    “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.” Psalm 138:6

    Even in our lowliest of states, it is a miracle that the Lord would have regard for us despite our constant sin against Him. Something that has struck me recently is the truth that everything we do is somehow tainted by our sinful nature; we can do nothing absolutely perfect and righteous. This is such a humbling thought. Even when I think that I am doing something with a completely pure, selfless motive, there sin remains in some degree/form. To be lowly is to be humble and Christ-like and this is the one who the Lord has regard for. Isaiah 66:2 is one of my favorite verses in regards to this: “…But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” These three things ought to be my goal each day: to be humble, contrite in spirit, and tremble at the Word of God. To know that the Lord looks up and has regard for the humble of heart encourages me to seek humility even more. I would rather be humble and near to God than be haughty and know him from afar. Lord, help me to strive for humility in all things in order that I might draw nearer to you still.

  • Sam Funk

    Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    Whatever your circumstances, know that God is in control and he has done, is doing and will do what is best.

    Psalm 137:8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
    blessed shall he be who repays you
    with what you have done to us!

    Warning: Any country, city, company, or citizen that oppresses God’s children will be destroyed when God turns his wrath against them!

    Psalm 138:5 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.

    Even the most powerful people will dow and give thanks to the Lord.

    1 Cor 9:25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

    Paul provides an important aspect of followers of Christ that should not be overlooked or dismissed; exercising self-control in all things. Strive to demonstrate your self-control to yourself, to others, to God.

  • NonieS

    Psalm 137

    26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

    Everyday!!

    1 Corinthians 9:19
    May I like Paul, make myself a servant to all. Maranatha!!

  • Tracy Libby

    and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. Psalms 138:5

  • RyanDamato

    Psalm 136-

    23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,

    for his steadfast love endures forever;

    Verse after verse states the truth about God’s incredible steadfast love that lasts forever. The psalmist clearly articulates that the Israelites have had some very ugly times in history but God’s steadfast love remained on them. While they experienced discipline at times, God never wiped them out as he loved his people deeply.

    Nothing can snatch us from his hand. He loves us and has promised incredible things to us. We need to remain steadfast in him as he has remained steadfast in us. Even though we sin against him, he sanctifies us and draws us even closer.

    I pray for strong conviction when I sin against God that I can turn back to him knowing with 100% of my being that he has eternal steadfast love for me.

    1 Corinthians 9-

    25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

    Paul recognizes the hard work that athletes do to win a prize that will perish. He wants them to recognize the fact that an imperishable prize is worth even more sacrifice and work.

    Its amazing that more Christians don’t value their eternal promise. We get so caught up in the things that are temporal and forget about incredible reward that God has promised to the winning team. We should work even harder and stay even more focused knowing that our time is valuable and our work will be eternally rewarded.

    God-I pray for perseverance today and everyday. I pray that I would discipline myself and work hard to win the race and inherit the imperishable prize. Keep me focused on what really matters. Don’t let me be conformed to the ugly patterns of this world but to be transformed daily and renewed daily to see your eternal promise as my motivation for life.

  • Beth Metcalf

    I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; 2 I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. Psalms 138:1-2 (Praising you God with my WHOLE heart, Thank you for your WORD!)