A&D Biker Ministries "Growing the Kingdom of God . . . one Biker at a time"



September 30, 2023

“A Highway For Our God”  

Isaiah 40:3-5 (NIV)


Where we are sitting and worshipping right now is located near one of the busiest highways in all of Racine County.  Tens of thousands of cars travel on Highway 20 every day.  If you traveled on Highway 20 / Washington Avenue today as you drove to church, YOU are counted in that number!


Signs along the roads we travel point to practical spiritual truths that we should apply to our lives, to guide us on our spiritual journey through life.

I see the Highway 20 sign every day, when I leave my neighborhood.  It is a well-traveled road, to say the least.  And, that sign reminds me that the Bible speaks of a highway, a popular one, an important one, an essential one.  Let’s read . . .


Isaiah 40:3-5 (NIV)

3 A voice of one calling:  “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.  5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.  For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”


This scripture was originally written as a comfort to God’s people who were held in captivity for 70 years in Babylon.  They would soon be freed and allowed to return home to Jerusalem.  There was a huge desert area and wilderness to trek through, on their way home.  So, someone needed to prepare the way. 


And, when kings traveled from one region to another it was a big deal.  They would often have men go ahead of the royal procession to prepare the highway, by elevating the road bed in order to make the journey smoother.  This involved filling in dips and valleys, lowering hilltops, and even making the crossing of rivers and going across mountains easier!


We find analogies in the Bible that liken our lives to soft hearts, fertile ground, Olympic athletes, grazing sheep and so forth. 


Today, I want us to see our lives like . . . well, like a highway.  We must prepare the way - the highway of our lives - so that God can lead us through life.  So, we begin tonight by recognizing this scriptural truth . . .


As we travel through life, choose the straight  road  over  The  Crooked  one.


The easiest roads to build are always the straight ones.  The easiest roads to travel are always the straight ones.  Straight highways are the fastest.  They are the ones where you can see clearer, and you can more easily pass a slow driver.  It’s the curved roads, such as those in the mountains, that slow you down.  This is counter thinking for Bikers.  We love curves and twisties, like The Tail of the Dragon, in North Carolina!  But, hear me . . .

Please understand . . . here I am talking about the spiritual highway of our lives that we are preparing for God.  This is about God, not about us.  And, the more stable and consistent our lives are, the more God can accomplish in and through us.  The problem occurs when we throw in a curve of sin - sometimes several.  It’s easier to grow a crop if the ground is fertile and free of weeds.  It’s easier to win a race, if you’re not weighed down.  And, it’s easier for God to work in us if we don’t throw curves at him . . . if we don’t make the way crooked.


Curves are when we choose a different way.  Curves are when we think we know better; when we are distracted by the devil and we listen to him rather than God.  Curves are what happen when we lose our spiritual focus. 


Curves are what happen when we choose to go around (ignore) an obstacle in our life -  instead of allowing God to remove it.  In fact, the phrase here in Isaiah:  “make straight in the desert a highway for our God” can also be translated, “make smooth.”   So, let’s apply this to our lives, also . . .


As we travel through life, choose the smooth way over the rough way.


Originally, most roads were just a dirt road.  They were a way to travel between towns or villages.  They were NOT smooth roads!  Heavy rains created ruts and pot holes, and the way became more rough.  Eventually, roads were paved, and widened, and these highways became much smoother to travel. 


Now I admit it . . . our roads in Wisconsin can and do get pretty messed up over time.  But, imagine driving every day over ruts and pot holes and kidney vibrating surfaces!  That would certainly slow you down and it would cause great frustration.  Yet, that is exactly what we do to God when he wants to do a great work in and through our lives.  We often make the way hard for him.  It is sometimes not a smooth way that we prepare for him, but a challenging one filled with the pot holes of sin, the ruts of our stubbornness and the jarring vibration of our distractions.

This should not / cannot be! 


We must desire the smooth way (the righteous way) so that we can experience a God-blessed life.  Create a smooth highway for God.  Remove the hindrances and enjoy the ride . . . with God as the driver . . . through your life.


As we travel through life, choose the clear way, over the cluttered highway.


Remember, Isaiah said: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord.”  That word prepare literally means, “make clear of obstacles.”


Obstacles are what make highway driving challenging.  Have you ever been driving down the road and had to avoid stuff in the road:  a ladder, or a mattress, or animals, or sometimes people?  That makes driving rather stressful, doesn’t it?  No one in their right mind likes to drive over, through or around obstacles.  Neither does God!  He calls on us to remove the obstacles in our lives, and prepare the way.  He asks us to prepare the way so HE can LEAD the way.  However, we often throw one obstacle (of sin) after another at God.  This should not be.  It greatly slows the work of God in our lives.

Isaiah 57:14 (NIV)

And it will be said:  “Build up, build up, prepare the road!  Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”


We need to prepare our lives for God’s handiwork and guidance - by removing the obstacles of sin, and stubbornness, and pride, and doubt, and apathy, and excuses.


It’s the clear path - the smooth highway - where the glory of the Lord is best revealed.


And the glory of the Lord was indeed revealed, hundreds of years after Isaiah was written, when John the Baptist came.  He preached repentance and he prepared the way for the Messiah, the Lamb of God, our Savior.  John declared . . .


Matthew 3:2-3 (NIV)

2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:  “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”


Are you preparing the way for the Lord to come into your life?  Have you made straight paths for him?  Have you created a highway that is smooth, straight and without obstacles?  He will help you, but YOU must choose the highway.


There are people driving by on Highway 20, right now as we worship, that have no clue what is taking place inside this building.  The highway / the road they’re on is taking them to a destination that they have planned.  That’s true for us, too! 


I want to be on a highway to heaven that God has planned for me.  How about you?


The problem with so many travelers (Christians) today is that we all think that we are in control of our destination.  Not only that, we think we don’t have time to prepare a highway (our lives) for God.


But, if we don’t take time to prepare the way (our lives), we will end up on the wrong highway, and the wrong destination.


Make the choice today.  Choose the highway of King Jesus!  His Holy Spirit will help to make every rugged place in your life smooth(er).  When that happens, the glory of the God is revealed in your life and mine! 


So, please join me today in choosing to - “make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”





September 23, 2023



2 Corinthians 4:4; Psalm 40:12; 2 Kings 6:17


As I noticed a yield sign this past week, I thought of a classic hymn:  “Yield Not to Temptation.”   It got me to thinking . . . and I decided that I would share a couple of sermons that have as their topic - Signs of Life you may see as you’re driving.  Join me on this journey in allowing these signs to remind us of spiritual principles that we need to apply in our lives.


I don’t know about you, but I consider myself to be a pretty observant driver.  I notice things around me.  I know, for instance, that the speed limit on Highway 31 (Green Bay Road) Durand Avenue to just north of Braun Road is 35 mph.  Ask anyone who thinks it’s 45 or 50 and they have probably met one of Mount Pleasant’s finest! 


I mentioned last week a road sign I recently saw.  That sign read:  Hill Blocks View.  And you know what?  That sign was true!  As I went up that hill, that’s outside of town just northwest of here, there’s the sign, then a fairly sharp right turn, and then past that is a beautiful view of across big field surrounded by woods. 


The hill blocks the view of that . . . but it mainly blocks the view of people backing out of their driveways.  The hill blocks your view.


Does a hill of circumstances block your view of God?  Do you ever face situations where you don’t see God at work - just a big hill in front of you . . . some big obstacle?  Do you have those days when you pray, you’re faithful, you trust - and still you can’t see how God is present in your life?  If so, then you are suffering from a “Hill Blocks View” situation.  So, what is it that hinders us from seeing God at work in our everyday lives?  Let’s look at several “hills” that can get in the way of a person seeing the blessing of God actively working every day.


First, there is the hill of DISBELIEF that blocks many people’s view of God.


2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.


The god of this age really has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they can’t see the salvation light of the Gospel, or the glory of Jesus Christ - who provides our salvation.


The evil one never stops, does he?  Those of us who have been Christians for many years have seen countless people blinded by the devil’s influence.  He has claimed many victims.  Many CAN’T see the blessing of God because they have allowed themselves to be blinded by the influence of the enemy of our soul.  The glory of Christ is shining, but they can’t see him, or they refuse to see him, or they chalk it up to luck or coincidence.


C.S. Lewis spent the first part of his life blinded by the god of this age.  He could not allow himself to believe in God.  But after time spent in observation and study, he came to belief and has influenced countless lives through his books (Mere Christianity, etc.).  One of his great quotes is:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen.  Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”


The hill of disbelief indeed is like a BIG hill that blocks someone from seeing the light of God’s blessing.


Satan has blinded many with his evil influence, but once someone has been set free, they see God and God’s handiwork in everything!


Maybe that’s what many in our world today desire.  They may be very much like Bartimaeus in the Bible.  When Jesus confronted blind Bartimaeus he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”   “I want to see,” he replied.  “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.”   Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:52)


When Jesus gives you sight, the hill of disbelief no longer blocks your vision and you can finally see the handiwork of God . . . and, you can’t help but follow him!


First, there is the hill of DISBELIEF that blocks many people’s view of God.


Second, there is the hill of SIN that blocks our view of God.


Sin is not just a falling short of the goal of pleasing God and doing his will.  Sin causes damage.  And one of the damaging aspects of sin is that it blocks our view of God . . . and God cannot look on sin.


Psalm 40:12 (NIV)

For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see . . .  


The hill of sin can block our view of what God wants us to do AND who God wants us to be. 


We are often distracted by the temptation to do something we ought not to do because of an attraction we ought not to have followed.


It is so easy to be distracted today and be overtaken by the hill of sin so that we cannot see clearly that God IS working on us and calling us to himself.


That scripture I just read from the Psalms said:  “My sins have overtaken me and I cannot see.”   Is there a sin in your life that has overtaken you so that you cannot see the blessing of God in your life?  Is there something (some sin) that is drawing you away from God . . . and preventing you from seeing the beautiful handiwork of God through eyes of faith?


NOTE:  It doesn’t have to be something major.  It could be a spirit of negativity, or a stubbornness brought on by pride that won’t allow you to experience blessing.  Maybe it’s a selfish focus that refuses to see the needs of others.  Maybe it’s feeding unresolved anger that blames others, instead of finding hope in the midst of chaos.


Is there a hill of sin that has overtaken you, so that you cannot view the blessings of God? 

If so, it’s time to take that sin and lay it at the foot of Jesus’ Cross.  Allow God to open your eyes, so that you can see him clearly!


First, the hill of DISBELIEF that blocks many people’s view of God.


Second, the hill of SIN that blocks our view of God.


Third, there is the hill of DISTRACTION that causes us to miss the view of God’s blessing.


A hundred years ago, when I was a kid, talking on the land-line phone was a distraction and consumed much of our time.  I watched (listened) to some adults who fell into the sin of gossip because of too much time on the phone.  Then, it was TV that became a distraction.  Families couldn’t pull away from the TV long enough to engage in meaningful conversation with each other.  Then, it was personal computers and the internet that became a sensation and a magnet to draw us away from time that could be spent growing our faith  . . . sharing our faith . . . and showing our faith to others. Now, it’s the smart phone.  It has consumed us!


Perhaps you and I are guilty of missing out on seeing the blessing of God at work throughout our days, and nights, because we are too focused on this hilltop barrier called a cell phone.  But, for others it might be some another distraction.  Maybe it’s your hobby, maybe it’s TV, maybe it’s busyness, maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s too much or too little sleep, maybe it’s too much or too little work.  Too much of anything, even something good, can take away from our view of God.


Job, the O.T. character, experienced distraction, and found it hard to see the blessing of God -


Job 9:10-11 (NIV)

10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.  11 When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.


Even Job was distracted - not by a cell phone, but, perhaps by the circumstances of his suffering that caused him to miss the wonders of God.  Perhaps he needed a sign that said:  “Hill blocks view.”  The hill of distractions can cause us to miss the wonders of God which occur every day.


The hill of DISBELIEF that blocks many people’s view of God.


The hill of SIN that blocks our view of God.


The hill of DISTRACTION that causes us to miss the view of God’s blessing.


And fourth, there is the hill of DOUBT that blocks our view of God.


Do you ever feel like God has not shown up yet?   You know . . . those days where you feel like you have prayed and you’re just waiting for God to arrive on the scene! 


Do you have moments where a situation really is urgent and you doubt that God will intervene?  (You know . . . Doubting God’s presence.  Doubting God’s response.)


Doubting that God cares is a hill that blocks our view of God’s blessing.  A great story in the Bible that addresses this is found in 2 Kings chapter 6.  The King of Aram sought to stop the prophet Elisha from telling the King of Israel everything about his plans.  He sent out his soldiers to find him.  Eventually, The King of Aram’s powerful army entrapped Elisha and his servant one day in the town of Dothan. 


2 Kings 6:13-19 (NIV)

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.”  The report came back:  “He is in Dothan.”  14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there.  They went by night and surrounded the city.  15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.  “Oh no, my lord!  What shall we do?” the servant asked.  16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered.  “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”  Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.”  So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.  19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city.  Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.”  And he led them to Samaria.


There are times when we doubt that God is near.  We can’t see him.  We can’t hear him.  We don’t feel his presence.  It may even be a threatening situation, like Elisha and his servant experienced. 


Has the hill of your life’s circumstances blocked your view of God?  If so, then we too should pray to have our eyes opened so we can see! 


God IS all around us.  The hill of doubt may get in the way, but God is there.  He will carry us through.  His angels surround his children and we should walk in victory, not in defeat.  We should walk in faith, not in doubt.  We should see with eyes of hope, not eyes of despair. 


So today, let’s pray that God would open our eyes so that the hills of Satan’s work do not block the view of God’s clear love for us . . . God’s strength in us  . . . and God’s grace over us.  Lord, open my eyes that I might see!







September 2, 2023

Summer in the Psalms

(sermon series)



“Delighting in God’s Word”

Psalm 1


Maybe it’s because I just don’t want to acknowledge the-beginning-of-the-end of summer.  Or, maybe it’s because I really wanted to finish up this sermon series, Summer in the Psalms, by looking at the Psalm 1 - where we began this series.  Whatever the reason, I had planned to finish this series the final weekend in August.  But, here we are, with “a bonus sermon,” as we enter the month of September.


Psalm 1 (LSB)

1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.  3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.  4 The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.


The central point of Psalm 1 is found in verse 2:


But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and in His law he meditates day and night.”


The person who delights in God's law / God’s Word (the Bible) so much that he or she meditates on it day and night is delivered from the ways of the wicked and sinners and scoffers, and is made fruitful and durable and prosperous.  That's the point -  delighting in the Word of God is the central issue! 


Where is this Psalm?  It is the beginning of the book of Psalms.  And what are the Psalms?  Many of them are songs and prayers.  It has been said that the Psalms is the prayer book of the Bible.  Millions of Christians go to the Psalms to find words for the cries of their hearts - in the worst of times and in the best of times.  So, the prayer book / hymnal called the Psalms, begins where we will end our Summer in the Psalms sermon series . . . with Psalm 1.


It is important for us to always remember that in the Christian life (in the lives of God's people) prayer AND the Word of God are connected in such a way that if we disconnect either one of them, our faith walk will suffer . . . and can even eventually die.


Let me sum up the connection between prayer and God’s Word (the Bible) in three ways.  The Word of God inspires prayer, it informs prayer and it incarnates prayer.  (Do you remember what the word incarnate means?  It’s the living embodiment / the concrete form of an idea.)  Let me unpack each of these truths, just a little.

First, the Word of God inspires prayer.  This means that the Word commands us to pray, and makes promises to us of what God will do if we do pray, and tells us stories of great men and women of prayer.  James 5:16-18 does all three . . . First, “Pray for one another so that you may be healed.” There's a command from the Word.  Second, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  There is the encouraging promise.  Third, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.”  There's a story to inspire us.  So, the Word inspires prayer by telling us to do it (like a doctor telling us what's good for us), and promising us good things if we will do it, and telling us stories to encourage us in our weakness.


Second, the Word of God informs prayer.  This means that the Word tells us what to pray and becomes itself the content of our prayer.  When you know the mind of God, from his Word, you pray the mind of God in your prayers. 

This is the way strong and faithful Christians have prayed throughout history.  May the Holy Spirit fill our payers with the great purposes and promises of God that we learn from his Word.  The Word informs prayer.


Third, the Word incarnates prayer.  This means that prayers are often invisible and concealed in our soul, in “the closet,” in the church.  But, their effect is to be in the out-in-the-open in the lives of people and nations.  How does that happen?  God usually advances his purposes in personal salvation and transformation and life reformation by direct encounters with the truth of his Word.  The Word of God (the Bible) incarnates our prayers.  Prayers become effective through God’s truth getting into people's ears and minds and hearts.


People don't just start believing in Jesus because you pray for them.  They need to hear about Jesus.  Do you see the cause and effect?  Prayer empowers the Word and the Word incarnates prayer.  We, as disciples of Christ, don't just become more holy because someone prays that we will.  We need to see the truth for our need for greater righteousness in our lives.  And where do we see that?


John 17:17 (NIV)

“Sanctify them by the truth; your Word is truth”


- Jesus -


Cultural slavery to greed and dishonesty and sexual immorality does not just change because we pray for it.  The agent of change / transformation is the truth:  “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).  Prayer must be incarnated in declarations and demonstrations of the truth.


That's probably enough unpacking.  The Word of God inspires, informs and incarnates prayer.  They go together, because God’s Word and the Holy Spirit go together.  The Word of God without the Holy Spirit is intellectualism.  The Holy Spirit without the Word of God is emotionalism, at best.  But, “The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are kept together when we depend on the Spirit for help in all our dealing with the Word . . . and we express that dependence in prayer.”  - John Piper -


Let's consider Psalm 1 and focus on delighting in and meditating on the Word of God

1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.  3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.


First, let's think about the blessing that comes from delighting in and meditating on the Word day and night.  The Psalm begins, “How blessed is the man...”  We are drawn in right away!  I mean, do you want blessing in your life?  That word means “happy" in the rich, full sense of happiness rooted in spiritual and mental and moral and physical wellbeing.


But, who is this happy / blessed person?  It’s the one who does not do something and the one who does do something.  The happy / blessed person does notwalk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”  (1).  But what does the happy / blessed  person do?  “... his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (v. 2).  Instead of finding pleasures in the words or the ways or the fellowship of sin and wickedness, the one who is truly blessed / happy finds pleasure in meditating on the Word of God and the ways of God.


Now the point of Psalm 1 is to say that when you experience the Word of God like that - so delightful and so satisfying that it captures your mind and heart day and night and weans you away from the path of sin and the counsel of the world - when you experience the Word of God like that, you are blessed.  You are happy!


Delighting in the Word of God . . .


3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. 


In verse 3, we are given three illustrations of that happiness / blessing.  The first one is that the person who delights in the Word of God and meditates on it day and night will be “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in its season.”


The second one is that the person who delights in the Word of God and meditates on it day and night will be like a tree whose “leaf does not wither.” 


The third illustration is that the person who delights in the Word of God and meditates on it day and night “will prosper in all that he does.”


Let's look at each of these . . .


1. Fruitful


If you delight in the Word of God, and meditate on it day and night, you will yield your fruit in season.

3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.  


This means that you’ll be a spiritually fruitful person. 


Oh for more spiritually fruitful people!  You know them.  They are refreshing and nourishing to be around.  You go away from them encouraged.  You go away strengthened.  You go away with your desire for spiritual things awakened.  Their mouth is a “fountain of life.”  Their words are healing and convicting and encouraging and deepening and enlightening.  Being around them is like a good meal. 


This is the effect of delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night . . . You will yield SPIRITUAL fruit in season.


2. Durable


The second illustration of your blessing, if you delight in the Word of God and meditate on it day and night, is that your leaf does not wither. 


3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. 


The point here is that the hot winds are blowing and the rain is not falling and all the other trees that are not planted by streams are withering and dying . . . but, in spite of all the heat and drought, your spiritual leaves remains green - because delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night is like being planted by a stream. 


The happiness of this person is durable.  It is deep.  It does not depend on which way the wind is blowing or whether the rain is falling.  It gets its life from an absolutely changeless source:  God, in his Word.


The person who delights in the Word of God and meditates on it day and night speaks like the Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk . . .


Habakkuk 3:17-18 (RSV)

17 “Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”


You will be fruitful, you will flourish, you will be life-giving . . . not by seeking the things that the world seeks, but by delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night.


3. Prospering (Really?)


3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. 


What does this mean?  Does it mean that, if you delight in the Word of God and meditate enough, you will make big money . . . and your health will always be good . . . and there will be no food shortages or car accidents or violence against your house?


It means that delighting in God’s Word, meditating on it and daily living it out in our lives will bring to us God’s blessings.  For example, when you delight in God's Word instead of walking in the counsel of the wicked and standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of scoffers …


You will be doing the kinds of things that God approves of, and God blesses what he approves.   And when you are delighting in the Word of God, you are trusting it . . . and we know God works for those who trust him and wait for him.


But, God does not always spare his most faithful people.  There are many passages of Scripture that tell us “many are the afflictions of the righteous” (Psalm 34:19 / Acts 14:22).  Psalm 73 expresses the reality that often the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper.


The truth of both Psalm 1 and Psalm 73 is this:  “Watch what becomes of everyone in the end!”


4 The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.


The final value of a life lived is by what happens at the judgment.  There may be some prosperity in this life for the wicked, but in the end they will be swept away like chaff.  But, those who have delighted in the Word of God will go on flourishing because God sets his eye and favor on them.  God knows their way.


So, the blessing / the happiness referred to in v. 1 is a life that is nourishing and fruitful for others; a life that is deeply durable in the face of drought; and a life whose “labor is not in vain” (it succeeds in God's good purposes in eternity).  That's the blessing of delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night!


What Is Meditation?


In Hebrew, the word “meditation” means basically to speak or to mutter.  When this is done in the heart it is called musing or meditation. 


So, meditating on the Word of God day and night means to speak to yourself the Word of God, day and night, and to speak to yourself about it.


Read the Bible and memorize scripture verses.  WHY?  The Word of God is the basis for your hearing him and for him hearing you.  The depth and the certainty of your walk and your fellowship with God, will rise and fall with whether God's own written Word is the truly the fabric of your very personhood. 

I challenge you, I urge you to memorize Scripture, and meditate on it day and night.  It will change your life in many good ways.


But, what if Meditation and Prayer are a drudgery in my life, rather than a delight?


The deepest mark of this happy / blessed person in Psalm 1 is that they delight in the Word of God (verse 2).  Bible reading and Bible memory and meditation are NOT a burden to them . . . they are a pleasure.  This is what we want!  How sad, when Bible reading is just a drudgery.  If that describes you, sorry, but something is wrong.


What shall we do?  Well, we struggle with Bible reading and memory and meditation because we don't find pleasure in it.  We have other things we want to get to more . . . TV, breakfast or social media.


Our hearts incline to other things and do not incline to the Word.  And so . . . reading / meditating on God’s Word is not a delight.


Did the Psalmists ever struggle with this?  Yes, they did.  Take heart.  We all do.  How can this be changed in me?  We must pray for God's Holy Spirit to help us delight in his Word.  This is clear, from the way the Psalmists pray!  


My challenge to you:  Get into God’s Word, get into the Psalms, and discover the help that the writers give us - not only to pray, but to meditate on God’s Word, day and night, and to do it with delight.



August 26, 2023

Summer in the Psalms

(sermon series)

“The B.I.B.L.E.”

Psalm 119


I remember learning in Sunday School, as a kid, the song:  The B.I.B.L.E.   The entire song went like this:  The B.I.B.L.E., yes that’s the book for me!  I stand alone on the Word of God - the B.I.B.L.E.  BIBLE! 


Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible.  It has 176 verses . . . which makes this chapter similar in length to some of the shorter books in the Bible.  Books like James or Philippians.


The purpose of Psalm 119 is to celebrate God’s Word and instruction to his people.  It is used in Jewish tradition to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).  This Psalm beautifully expresses awe and adoration and the worth of God’s Word, over and over again.


Psalm 119 is comprised of 22 stanzas, each starting with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Every stanza has 8 verses with 2 lines each.


Several of the verses in Psalm 119 mention God’s Word in one line . . . and then in the second line connect it to God’s revelation.  Many different words are used to describe God’s revelation, including:  word, law, commandments, testimonies, precepts, rules and statutes.


Psalm 119 is a prayer that includes many different elements:  praise (chapters 45-48), lament (chapters 81-88), vindication (chapters 132-134), obedience (chapters 57-64), and petitions for wisdom (chapters 33-40).


Bible scholars have noted that Psalm 119 is not just the topic of getting you into scripture / God’s Word.  Rather, Psalm 119 is the honest overflow of a life - when what God says gets into you!  Said one author - “Psalm 119 is the expression of what happens when real life meets the real God.


Charles Spurgeon liked this Psalm 119 so much, that he said, “We might do well to commit it to memory.”  (That’s would be quite a task!)  He also said this about it, in his commentary on Psalm 119:


 “As those who drink the Nile water like it better every time they take a draught, so does this Psalm become more full and fascinating the oftener you turn to it.”    - Charles H. Spurgeon -


The song Thy Word, by Amy Grant, is based on Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”  (KJV)


Obviously, in this final message of our Summer in the Psalms, I am not going to preach through the 176 verses of Psalm 119.  We’ll do a helicopter tour over it tonight . . . AND, I do have a challenge for you with Psalm 119, at the end of worship tonight!


A kind-of-sort-of summary of what the Psalmist feels about God’s Word, the Bible, is found in Psalm 119:103.


Psalm 119:103 (EVS)

How sweet are your words to my taste,

sweeter than honey to my mouth!


I have grown, in my life as a Christian, to love the Bible!  The Psalm writer said that God’s Word is sweeter than honey.  If I could contemporize that verse, I’d say, “Your Words are sweeter than chocolate . . . even sweeter than a Cadbury’s milk chocolate Creme Egg!”


That’s pretty sweet, huh?


Psalm 119:127 (ESV)

Therefore I love your commandments

above gold, above fine gold.


Psalm 119:136 (ESV)

My eyes shed streams of tears,

because people do not keep your law.


Something that really grieves me, I mean it hurts my heart, are people in the Church (Christians) who are not living out God’s Word.


I thank God for the awesome gift my parents gave me when I was first old enough to read:  my own copy of the Bible!


I’ve read the Old Testament and the New Testament several times through.  My desire tonight is to stir up YOUR passion and desire to get into God’s Word!  My aim today is two-fold:


1) To help you to see how precious, awesome and amazing the Bible really is.


2) To stir up your hunger and passion to read the Bible, more and more.


George Barna, and the Barna Research Group,  did a survey of tens of thousands of Christians - about their knowledge of the Bible.  Here’s a part of what they discovered:


• 48% of all Christians could not name the four Gospels.


• 60% of all Christians could not name even five of the 10 Commandments.


 “Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says.  And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of Biblical illiterates.”    - George Barna -

Have you heard this story?  A new pastor was asked to teach the junior high boys’ Sunday school class, in the absence of the regular teacher.  He decided to see what the boys knew, so he asked them, “Who knocked down the walls of Jericho?”  All the boys denied doing it, and the preacher was appalled by their ignorance.  At the next Elders’ meeting he told about the experience.  “Not one of them knows who knocked down the walls of Jericho,” he told the Elders.  The group was silent . . . until finally one long-standing Elder spoke up.  “Preacher,” he said, “this appears to be bothering you a lot.  But I’ve known all those boys since they were born - and they’re good boys!  If they said they didn’t know, I believe them.  Let’s just take some money out of the maintenance fund, fix the walls, and let it go at that.”  What a sad commentary on today’s Bible knowledge in the church!





2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


The Bible is breathed out (inspired) by God, and it is profitable (it has the power to change & transform your life!)





FACT:  Before people will be motivated to read the Bible, they need to know the benefits of the discipline of reading it!


Here’s the Old Testament story of King Josiah . . .


2 Kings 22:1-3a (CEV)

1  Josiah was 8 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled 31 years from Jerusalem.  His mother Jedidah was the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath.  2 Josiah always obeyed the Lord, just as his ancestor David had done.  3 After Josiah had been king for 18 years, he told Shaphan, one of his highest officials:  Go to the Lord's temple


In verses 4-7, Josiah told Shaphan to go and help rebuild the temple / the house of the Lord.


2 Kings 22:8-10 (CEV)

8 While Shaphan was at the temple, Hilkiah handed him a book and said, “Look what I found here in the temple -The Book of God's Law.”  Shaphan read it, 9 then went back to Josiah and reported, “Your officials collected the money in the temple and gave it to the men supervising the repairs.  10 But there's something else, Your Majesty.  The priest Hilkiah gave me this book.”  Then Shaphan read it out loud.


When King Josiah got ahold of the Word of God, it changed his life (vs. 11ff)!  (We’ll continue this later)



1. You will be blessed!


Psalm 119:1 (ESV)

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!


Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.



2. God’s Word will make you pure!


Psalm 119:9-11 (ESV)

9 How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to your word10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.


God’s Word will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from God’s Word.



3. You will see amazing and miraculous things!


Psalm 119:18 (ESV)

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.


The Bible is filled with miracles, but remember Hebrews 13:8 - “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”



4. God’s Word will revive you!


Psalm 119:25 (ESV)

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!


Do you need to be spiritually revived?  It will never happen, apart from God’s Word getting into your heart!



5. God’s Word reveals God’s love to us!


Psalm 119:64 (ESV)

The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!


1 John 4:7-9 (ESV)

Powered by MyFlock © 2023
Banner Artwork © Copyright PRAETER DESIGN