Psalm 127 – God’s Actions In The Life Of His Beloved – Part 2

Many people go through trials and tribulations in their lives because their faith and knowledge of God is limited. In their minds and hearts God is able to do some things but not others. It seems that God is a good specialist, but not the all-powerful being.

Sometimes we think that God can take care of some areas of our lives, but He is incapable of managing other areas. That kind of vision can cripple our Christian walk, because it will force us to find answers and help somewhere else than God.

 Psalm 127 helps us in a simple and poetic way to see what God is capable to do for those who love Him. In our last message we saw that He edifies and builds up. Today we will see two more things for which we can count on Him in our journey.

2 – GUARD – The second action is guarding, protecting. The psalmist says, “[1] “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” 

You can buy the best security system available on the market. You can have dogs, cameras, a security guard, etc. But in the end the Lord is the one that has to guard your house and your city, all the money and people will be in vain.

Most of the time we put our trust in things and in people and forget to involve God in the process. God must be our first and main source of protection; the other things are good, but our faith and confidence must be in God Himself.

I am not saying that we should not be aware when we walk on the street at night, or lock our cars and houses. The idea is that those attitudes without the work of God are not enough.

3 – SUSTAIN – The third action of God in our life is sustaining, nourishing. The psalmist says, “[2] In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat–for he grants sleep to those he loves.”

How many hours and days we work hard to put food on the table for our family? Some of us are struggling very hard to find a job, or to find a better job to support his/her family. Because of that we cannot find time for God, church, and spiritual life. We are so busy trying to provide for our own family, that we neglect the most important things.

It is important for us to understand that God does not want us to be lazy. He wants us to have our priorities in the right place. God makes clear here in this text that working hard with wrong motivations and intentions will not give you what you are looking for. God will give to His beloved ones while they sleep, or as our translation states, for he grants sleep to those he loves.” He grants rest for those who trust in Him.

My friend, do not forget that God loves you and if you trust in Him He will guard you and sustain you in your journey.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Psalm 127 – God’s Actions In The Life Of His Beloved – Part 1

WORK! WORK! WORK! BUSY! BUSY! BUSY!

We live in a time when we are pushed to the edge with work and activism. We do not have time for anything else but work, work, and more work. We are so busy that we do not have time even for God. We think that if we do not do something we are not going to get anything done.

The problem with this attitude is that, there are things in our lives that if the Lord does not act, our work and determination will be in vain. Psalm 127 deals with the fears that we have these days.

What is going to happen with my family if something happens to me?

What if I lose my job?

What if I get hurt?

What if…

What if…

The problem is that we think that this is a situation exclusive to modern days. We could not be more wrong. This psalm helps us to understand that it is not. People who took the journey to Jerusalem three times a year for the festivals, had the same questions:

What is going to happen to our house?

What is going to happen to our business?

What if something happens to me during this journey?

If my family does not come with me on this journey, who will protect them?

This psalm shows  us that God has a special interest in His beloved ones. Because of that He will do things in his or her lives to get things done.

When we learn that we will be able to enjoy God and His presence and we will be able to concentrate in things that have real importance in our lives.

God wants us to put our efforts first in His things, His kingdom and His justice, and He will take care of all the other things.

When we put our trust in God there are four things that He will do for us, and this Psalm will help us to see that. Let us see God’s Action in the life of His beloveds.

1 – EDIFY – The first thing that He will do is to build up and to edify the lives of His beloved ones. The psalmist says, “[1] Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”

You can do everything that is in your hands to do, but if the Lord does not work you will not get anything done. You will just waste your time and energy.

He is the one who will build up your house, family, children, relationships, business, and your church. Sometimes we think that everything depends on us, but this psalm helps us to put our trust in God.

We can put our own abilities, money and efforts to build those things, but if we do not have His presence and action we will lose everything.

As we start examining this psalm, I would like to challenge you to count on God to build your life, and to put your trust in Him.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Psalm 126 – The Restoration of God’s People – Part 3

I know some churches and some people that are stuck, frozen, almost paralyzed in a time when God acted in their lives. They just do not want to move away from that experience. It is like Peter, John, and James on the Mountain of the Transfiguration. After seeing Jesus, Moses, Elijah, and hearing the voice of God, they said, let’s build some tents for each one of you and stay here.

They had no idea that down in the valley the other disciples were struggling with a child possessed by a demon. How many times, we see God doing great things for us and we just do not want to move, we want to stay there as long as we can.

The last aspect of the restoration of the people of God focuses in the future. It is important for us to look back and see what God did in our lives; it is important for us to pray and receive restoration in our present situation; but we must move on, keep walking, and advance in our lives. So, the next lesson that we learn in Psalm 126 is: THE HOPE IN THE PROMISE FOR THE FUTURE – VS. 5-6

Here are the last verses: “[5] Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. [6] He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.”

The psalmist makes sure that we need to keep moving. He also tells us that there is a promise for our future and we should put our hope on it. Because we have this hope we move, we act. Let us see the components of this action.

            A – It Is Painful

The first thing that the psalmist mentions here is that this attitude will be painful. This is why we need hope. God made some promises about our personal life, family life, business life, and we do not have those promises fulfilled yet. We do everything that we are supposed to do and we do not see any result. It is painful. Like the sower, we plant, but for some time we do not see anything happening, we just wait and hope, and that period can be very painful.

            B – It Is Active

The psalmist also says that this hope must keep us active. We cannot stop. We have things to do. We are planting, we are not seeing the fruits yet, but they will come in due time. We just cannot be still and wait, we have work to do

            C – It Is Rewarded

Finally the psalmist tells us that that hope will reward everyone who planted, even during pain and struggle. They will come back with joy bringing the fruits of their labor.

When was the last time that you felt a refreshing renewal from God in your life? When was the last time that you looked back in your Christian life and meditated on what God had done for you? How dry is your spiritual life now? Are you living without hope that you are going to reap what you are planting?

My friend, God can restore your life. He can bring the streams of living water inside your heart. Open your heart and ask Him to do that.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Psalm 126 – The Restoration of God’s People – Part 2

Sometimes we are so focused in the past that we forget to pay attention in what is going on now. We are grateful for what God did in our lives, but now we turn our eyes to the present. In Psalm 126, we see the psalmist making that turn. He recognized what God did in the past, but now he should look in THE PEOPLE’S NEED IN THE PRESENT – VR. 4.

This is the second aspect in the restoration of God’s people. It is something that has to happen in our present, right now. It is important for us to remember what God did for us in the past, but we cannot keep our eyes in the past all the time. There are still things in our lives that need to be restored. The psalmist says: “[4] Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev.” 

The word Negev or Negeb means dry. It is an area south of Jerusalem and Judea. It is one of the most arid places in the Bible. The Negev is a dry wadi during the summer season. Wadis are dry riverbeds, like dry valleys. They do not have water during the summer, but during the springtime or rainy season they are transformed into rivers, since they collect waters from various areas. They can even become very dangerous torrents within a short while of torrential rain, overflowing its riverbank and causing flash flooding.

So, when the psalmist asks God to restore his fortunes like streams in the Negev he had in his mind a desert place that suddenly is restored by the rain, making him overflow with blessings. 

Let us take a look and see what would be the characteristics of this restoration that the psalmist is asking:

            A – A Complete Restoration

This is what the psalmist asks God for, a complete restoration. There are more people to be restored; people who belong to God’s people but are not experiencing the restoration and the joy that God can perform. The psalmist is asking God to restore all of them.

            B – An Internal Restoration

The second thing is the internal restoration. Of course we need restoration in our business, family, health, relationships, etc. The psalmist is talking about an internal restoration, something that needs to happen inside of our hearts. After a while our hearts becomes so dry that we need a refreshing move from God in our lives.

            C – An Abundant Restoration

The psalmist mentions the Negev. As we learned, the south had some dry and desert land that would be dry almost all year long. But suddenly in the winter rain those places would receive so many waters that they would become dangerous places. The waters would run and flood immense areas. This is what the psalmist is praying for, an abundant restoration, something that would move them back to the right place, and make them flourish again.

My friend, maybe you are going through a season like the people were in this psalm, and maybe you should unite your voice with the psalmist and cry out to the Lord: “Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev.”

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Psalm 126 – The Restoration of God’s People – Part 1

What makes us the people of God? Some people think that having their names on the roll of some church will do it. Others think that if they carry a symbol of Christianity, like a cross, etc. will do it. Others think that if they try to help people and do good deeds that will be enough. Finally, others think that if they attend a service on a regular basis that will be sufficient.

Although these things are very good they are just part of the process. They do not represent the whole thing. They are external and not internal. People, even people that do all these things, need to be renewed and restored once in a while in their Christian life. They need a refreshing touch from God in their lives to keep them moving forward and living their Christianity. We all need once in a while an AHA! moment, an epiphany, a revelation, a turning point.

Psalm 126 is about that restoration. A restoration that happened in the past, it can happen in the present, and we hope, it will happen in the future.

The Christian life is wonderful because it has these three elements involved in our lives. The restoration of the people of God is something that is always ready to happen in our lives.

The first aspect is GOD’S ACTIONS IN THE PAST. That is the first thing that the psalmist mentions here in this psalm. The psalmist took a look in his past and saw what God had done for him and his people.

In verses 1-3 we have this:

[1] When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. 

[2] Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 

[3] The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Like the psalmist we should have the same attitude. We should take a look into our past and see what God already did. Here are the actions of God in their lives.

            A – Restoring Zion’s Fortunes

The first action that the psalmist mentions is that God restored their fortunes. God brought them back from exile. They were under the dominion of the Babylonians, and after a power struggle the Persians took control, and Cyrus, king of Persia,  sent them back. God took them and brought them to their own land.

            B – Bringing Joy to the People

The second action that he mentions is the joy. When they went back to their land, they just could not believe that that was real. It seemed like a dream. They were so happy that they wanted everyone to know. Joy was overflowing in their lives.

            C – Producing Recognition among the Nations

Finally they acknowledged that what God did was recognized by all the other nations. People all over that region knew that God did something extraordinary for His people.

Has God done something in your life that you remember and cherish very much? Does that bring joy in your heart when you remember it? Are other people able to recognize and realize that God was at work in your life? I hope and pray you will answer yes to all of these questions.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Psalm 125 – What It Means To Have Faith – Part 3

Psalm 125 starts with “Those who trust in the Lord…” and then he goes on describing what that means. For the people who would take that risk and make that journey they definitely would need to trust in the Lord, not only to start, but also during the whole journey.

Here we will learn two more meanings for that kind of faith. The first one is that FAITH MEANS PERSEVERANCE. The psalmist mentions that faith means perseverance.

When we have faith we will persevere; we will keep going on, advancing in our faith and commitment, even during difficult times and tribulations. Faith is something to have all the time and in all circumstances. Our faith is not something to have only during the good and prosperous times. Faith manifests itself when we face difficult times and do not give up nor give in. 

This is what the psalmist wrote: “[5] But those who turn to crooked ways the Lord will banish with the evildoers.” In the psalmist’s perspective, those who turn to crooked ways do not have faith at all. Faith will keep us on the right path.

Look what the author of Hebrews has to say: “[35] So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. [36] You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. [37] For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. [38] But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” [39] But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Hebrews 10:35-39

The meaning is, when we have faith we keep going, we do not turn back and leave. The real faith makes us persevere in the way of the Lord.

Finally, the psalmist tells us that FAITH MEANS PEACE. This is how the psalmist closes the psalm, with a prayer, “[5] Peace be upon Israel.” That is the last meaning of faith, PEACE. Peace always follows faith.

Therefore, many times after a miracle has occurred that included the use of faith we find Jesus using the expression: “go in peace”.

“Luke 7:50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” 

“Luke 8:48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” 

Paul also tells us that we are justified by faith, and the result of that is peace with God, “Rom. 5:1 ¶ Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

There is no more enmity between God and us. By faith through Christ, we have peace with Him.

Now you know what faith means. With that information you can check your own faith.

Are you sure about what you believe?

Do you depend on God for your salvation and protection?

Is your faith changing your life on a daily basis?

Are you receiving the rewards that come as a result of your faith?

Are you persevering in your faith even in the middle of trials?

Are you receiving the peace that faith brings from God?

If the answer is yes, then you understand the meaning of having Faith.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Psalm 125 – What It Means To Have Faith – Part 2

We are watching horrified people doing terrible things in the name of their faith. Right now, we do not see the end of these horrific acts. Unfortunately, faith is being blamed for these events. Faith was supposed to have the opposite effect in people’s lives.

In Psalm 125 we learn the meaning of having faith, and the next one is FAITH MEANS A CHANGED LIFE. That is the third meaning of faith, a changed life.

When we believe in God things will change in our lives. Our belief will affect our behavior. If you believe in Jesus you will follow and obey Him. If that does not happen it is because you do not believe in Him at all.

Take a look in verse 3: “[3] The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.” In this verse the psalmist states that God will not allow the oppression of the enemy over us for a long time so we do not start doing the wrong things.

The idea is to prevent us from giving up and behaving like the people who do not believe in God. See what the author of Hebrews letter has to say: “[1] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. [2] Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2.”

He says that because of our faith we should get rid of everything that is against God’s will. Our faith in God should work in us removing the bad attitudes, words, feelings, and thoughts.

This psalm also tells us that FAITH MEANS REWARD. Yes, faith will bring reward from God. When we believe we will receive the reward from God Himself. This is what verse 4 states,“[4] Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart.” 

The psalmist cries to God to reward those who are good and those who have their hearts in the right place.

Our faith in God will be rewarded, even if takes longer than we think and expect. God will recompense our faith, our dependency, and conviction in Him. Listen what the Bible has to say about that: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.” This text makes clear that those who believe and seek Him will be rewarded.

My friend, your faith should change your life, making you a better person, and because of that you will be rewarded. Our God is not only Powerful and Righteous, but also Good and Merciful.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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Psalm 125 – What It Means To Have Faith – Part 1

The biggest challenge that our generation faces is that we do not know in what to believe anymore. We are going from one belief to the next in a blink of an eye. We are changing beliefs as we change clothes.

There is always a new fad, idea, trend, fashion, and cult waiting for us in the next commercial and advertisement, and we are taking the ride. We are trying all of them and sometimes we are mixing some of them, making our own knew religion and faith.

The Psalm 125 talks about faith and its real meaning. The pilgrims would not even start their journey to Jerusalem if they did not believe or have faith. Faith was the motivation and the sustenance for their long and difficult journey.

Do you think that they would face all those hurdles and difficulties in their journey to Jerusalem just for fun? NO! They did that because of their faith, they believed in something and someone, and because of that they acted

This psalm will help us to understand what “Having Faith” means in a practical way. According to this Psalm having FAITH MEANS CONVICTION. That is it; the first meaning of faith is conviction.

Faith is not a liquid that keeps moving and reshaping itself. Having faith means having convictions, assurances, and certainty. This is what the psalmist says, [1] Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” 

The psalmist compares faith (trust) with Mount Zion. The mountain is a rock, immovable. Thus should be our faith and convictions. This is how the Bible defines faith: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1.”

As you can see, faith is being sure and certain. The psalmist says that faith is like the mountain Zion that cannot be shaken.

This psalm also tells us that FAITH MEANS DEPENDENCY. That is the second meaning that we find in this psalm for faith. Faith is dependency.

Verse 2 states that God surrounds us as the mountains surround Jerusalem. Here is the verse: “[2] As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”

Faith means that we depend on the Lord for our salvation, protection, and defense. As we know those people were simple people. They were not warriors, rich, or powerful. They could not depend on anything or anyone to save them or protect them. Look what David has to say: “[1] My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. [2] He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1-2.”

When we believe in God with all our conviction we will depend on Him for everything in our lives. God will surround us, save us, and protect us in our journey.

My friends, put all your trust in the Lord and depend on Him to surround and guard you.

Have a blessed week,

Pastor Lucas

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