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July 7, 2019
27:29

Touching Lives with James Merritt

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  • announcer: The following program
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  • is paid for by the friends and partners of Touching Lives.
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  • James Merritt: When you praise God, all of a sudden,
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  • you put all the focus on God, you put the spotlight on God,
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  • you put God at the center of attention.
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  • In other words, when you praise God, it forces you to forget
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  • about you, and it forces you to focus on God.
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  • announcer: Teaching people everywhere who Jesus is,
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  • and why they need Him.
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  • This is "Touching Lives" with James Merritt.
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  • James: Brought a copy of your Bible.
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  • I want to invite you to turn to Psalm 147, and if you don't know
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  • where the Psalms are, right in the middle.
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  • Any Bible, pick it up, Psalms right in the middle.
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  • And if you want to look on your phone, or pad, or whatever it
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  • is, we're gonna be looking today at the 147 psalm.
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  • If you're joining us today for the first time in a while, we've
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  • been doing a series that we called Music To My Ears because
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  • I really do believe that God loves music, and I really do
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  • believe that God put these songs to music because he doesn't just
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  • want us look at them with our eyes.
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  • He wants us to listen to them with our heart.
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  • And this song is one of the greatest--talks about one of the
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  • greatest ways we can relate to God.
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  • As a matter of fact, it's all about the key to entering into
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  • the presence of God, and that key is praise.
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  • Now, I'm gonna tell you something I learned in studying
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  • with this message I never knew before, and I bet you would
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  • never guessed it.
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  • There's a lot more emphasis on praise in the Bible than there
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  • is prayer.
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  • The Bible talks a lot more about praise than it does prayer.
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  • Now, you may think, wait a minute, timeout,
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  • praise is prayer.
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  • Well, not exactly.
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  • Because at least the way we think of it, whenever we pray,
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  • the primary purpose of prayer in our mind is to get something
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  • from God.
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  • So 95% of the time when we pray, we need something, we want
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  • something, we gotta have something, we lack something.
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  • So 95% of the time, maybe 99% of time, when we pray, it's because
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  • we need God to do something.
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  • We need God to give us something.
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  • We need God to come through.
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  • So, when we pray, we're wanting God to give something to us.
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  • But the purpose of praise is not to get something from God, it is
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  • to give something to God.
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  • And that's why, frankly, most of us spend a lot more time in
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  • prayer than we do in praise because a lot more time when we
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  • come to God is not because we're giving God anything, it's
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  • because we need God to give something to us.
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  • So, put it this way, prayer is when you shout up to God and you
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  • say, "Hey God, I need you to do something.
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  • I need you to give me something.
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  • I want something from you."
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  • Praise is when you shout out to God and you say, "God, I don't
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  • really want anything from you, I want to give something to you."
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  • Now, even in our relationship to God, the verse in the Bible that
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  • says it's more blessed to give than to receive is still true.
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  • Even in our relationship to God, it really is more blessed to
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  • give than it is to receive.
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  • And what I want you to see this morning is what this songwriter
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  • tells us are four things that we give to God every time we
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  • praise God.
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  • And I want to encourage you to do something that I've done
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  • many, many years.
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  • I actually spend a lot more time praising God than I do praying
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  • to God, and it's not just because the Bible emphasizes
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  • that.
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  • Let me tell you something I've learned.
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  • You might be sitting there you might be saying, "Well, you
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  • know, I understand that and I get that But I mean, quite
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  • frankly, I got a lot of needs in my life.
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  • I need God.
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  • I've got a financial need.
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  • I've got a marital need.
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  • I've got an need with my kids.
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  • I've got a health need, and I need God to come through
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  • for me."
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  • Let me kind of give you a word of advice.
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  • If you will spend the time you ought to spend praising God and
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  • giving God what you can give to God, he'll make sure he gives
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  • you what you need.
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  • Don't worry about that.
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  • As matter of fact, Jesus said, you don't even have to tell God
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  • what you need, he already know knows what you need before
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  • you tell him.
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  • He's got that covered.
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  • He is more interested, frankly, in what you give to him than
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  • what he gives to you because when you give to him what you
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  • ought to be giving to him, you put yourself in a position for
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  • him to give you what he needs to give to you.
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  • And what I've learned in my life is when I spend time, and I do
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  • every morning when I get up, when I spend time just praising
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  • God and just blessing God, I just know in my heart, "You
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  • know, Lord, You are always gonna give me what I need."
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  • And many times I've learned, he's already given me what I
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  • need.
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  • So, number one, when I praise, I give God pleasure.
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  • When I praise, I give God pleasure.
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  • Now, notice how the songwriter begins.
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  • He says this, "Praise the Lord."
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  • All right, let's say that together, ready?
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  • "Praise the Lord."
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  • Let's say it again, Praise the Lord.
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  • All right, praise the Lord.
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  • "How good it is to sing praises to God, how pleasant and fitting
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  • to praise him."
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  • Now, the three words in English, "Praise the Lord," that's one
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  • word in Hebrew.
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  • Who knows what that word is, anybody?
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  • It starts with an H.
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  • Hallelujah, all right, so every time you see those three words,
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  • one word in Hebrew, it is hallelujah.
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  • Now, that's not only an exclamation, that is a command.
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  • In other words, we're not just requested to praise God.
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  • We're not just suggested to praise God.
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  • We are commanded to praise God.
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  • Praise is not something that we can do, or we might do, or we
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  • could do.
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  • Praise is something that we should do, must do, and we ought
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  • to do, why?
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  • The psalmist says because it is pleasant and it is fitting.
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  • All right, number one, it's pleasant.
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  • What does that mean? Well, it pleases God.
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  • That's why it's pleasant.
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  • It is a--it brings pleasure to God.
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  • I mean, it does for us, right?
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  • If somebody praises us for something, you know, I know, you
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  • know, we try to act humble, right?
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  • You know, somebody say, "You know, that was a great meal that
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  • you cooked, or that was a great thing that you did."
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  • Or honestly somebody says, "Well pastor, that was a great sermon
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  • you preached." You know what do we try to do?
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  • We try to do, I call it the "aw shucks," you know, "really?
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  • No."
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  • But you know what? We love it.
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  • I mean, I mean, I would much rather you come to me after
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  • service and say, "Pastor, that was a great message," than for
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  • you to come to me like one lady did not long ago and said, "You
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  • know, you'll never know how much your message have meant to my
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  • husband since he lost his mind."
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  • I would much rather you praise me, than say something
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  • like that.
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  • And, you know, we all--it brings pleasure to all of us.
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  • Well, listen, God is no different.
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  • When we praise God, it pleases him, but the psalmist says it's
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  • not just pleasant, he said it is fitting.
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  • Now, let me ask you a question.
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  • Why is praise fitting?
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  • What does the psalmist mean by that?
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  • He said it's fitting, its proper, it's the right thing to
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  • do.
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  • All right, I want you to learn something.
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  • When we praise God, two things happen.
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  • We put God where he belongs, and we put us where we belong.
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  • Because too often we kind of swap places.
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  • Let me explain what I mean by that.
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  • If you read this psalm, 22 times it refers to God.
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  • This psalm focuses on God, the focus is all on him.
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  • It maximizes God, it minimizes us, and that's exactly what
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  • praise does.
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  • When you praise God, all of a sudden, you put all the focus on
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  • God, you put the spotlight on God, you put God at the center
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  • of attention.
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  • In other words, when you praise God, it forces you to forget
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  • about you, and it forces you to focus on God.
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  • Now, let me just--let me tell you why this is so practical,
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  • not just spiritual.
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  • Spiritual is very practical.
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  • Praise will keep you out of trouble.
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  • Second thing he says is this, he says, "When I praise, I honor
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  • God's power."
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  • I don't just give him pleasure, I honor his power.
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  • Now, the verse we're about to read is one of the most
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  • unbelievably tremendous, incredible testimonies to the
  • 00:08:04.250 --> 00:08:07.290
  • power of God you'll read anywhere in any book you ever
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  • pick up.
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  • I want you to listen to what he says.
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  • He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by
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  • name.
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  • He determines the numbers of the stars, and he calls each by
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  • name.
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  • When I--every time I read that verse, I think back about 18
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  • years ago, I was president of the Southern Baptist Convention,
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  • and I was on mission trip.
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  • And I was in the African country of Zambia, and I met a
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  • missionary there and we took a boat ride up the Zambezi River
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  • for about two hours.
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  • And we're literally in the African bush.
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  • I mean, Tarzan, gorillas, elephants, you know, the whole
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  • nine yards, right?
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  • We're in the African bush.
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  • And so, we were sleeping, we had a big, old tent.
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  • There were four of us sleeping under the tent.
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  • And so, about the middle of the night, I woke up and couldn't
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  • sleep and thought I'd just step outside.
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  • And I stepped outside.
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  • I'm gonna tell you, it literally took my breath away.
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  • I have never seen so many stars in my life.
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  • I was so excited, I woke everybody up.
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  • I couldn't help it, I just woke everybody up and said--and, of
  • 00:09:07.020 --> 00:09:09.000
  • course, the missionary seen it a hundred times before, right?
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  • And says, "Man, you gotta see this."
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  • And so, he--they all stepped outside, you know, they were all
  • 00:09:12.140 --> 00:09:15.200
  • like mixed-up him.
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  • And he said, "James," he said, "takes your breath away, doesn't
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  • it?"
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  • I said, "Yeah," I said, "Man, where did all those stars come
  • 00:09:21.100 --> 00:09:22.250
  • from?"
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  • He said, "Well, the problem is," he said, "You live in a country
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  • that has pollution.
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  • There's no pollution out here in the middle of the Africa Bush.
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  • It's very clean."
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  • So he said, "You're actually seeing the stars that are really
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  • up there."
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  • And I'm like can it look like people, somebody just taking
  • 00:09:35.030 --> 00:09:36.210
  • buckets of stars.
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  • I mean, it was like the Fox Theater own steroids, okay?
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  • I mean, it's just like all the stars up there--I couldn't I
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  • mean, I absolutely could not get over it.
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  • And I had no idea I wasn't even seeing nearly what I thought I
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  • was seeing because I learned later on that without a
  • 00:09:51.010 --> 00:09:53.280
  • telescope, the naked eye at most can only see about 3.000 stars.
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  • That's probably what I was looking at, about 3.000 stars.
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  • Yet, scientists now estimate that there are somewhere around
  • 00:10:03.090 --> 00:10:08.220
  • 70 trillion stars in the universe.
  • 00:10:08.230 --> 00:10:13.270
  • That is 70 million, million, million stars or let me put it
  • 00:10:13.280 --> 00:10:19.240
  • to you this way.
  • 00:10:19.250 --> 00:10:21.020
  • That's how many stars and that's almost the national debt, by the
  • 00:10:21.030 --> 00:10:24.170
  • way.
  • 00:10:24.180 --> 00:10:26.000
  • But that's how many stars there are up there in the universe.
  • 00:10:26.010 --> 00:10:30.110
  • To put it in perspective, take all the grains of sand on planet
  • 00:10:30.120 --> 00:10:34.160
  • earth and multiply by ten and that's how many stars there are
  • 00:10:34.170 --> 00:10:38.210
  • in the universe.
  • 00:10:38.220 --> 00:10:39.290
  • And the psalmist says God's not only counting them all, God has
  • 00:10:40.000 --> 00:10:44.060
  • named them all.
  • 00:10:44.070 --> 00:10:46.080
  • I got four grandchildren I can't even keep straight and God says,
  • 00:10:46.090 --> 00:10:50.280
  • "I've named every single star."
  • 00:10:50.290 --> 00:10:54.130
  • So, no wonder the psalm goes on to say this, "Great is our Lord
  • 00:10:54.140 --> 00:10:58.190
  • and mighty in power."
  • 00:10:58.200 --> 00:11:00.090
  • Now, watch this, "His understanding has no limit."
  • 00:11:00.100 --> 00:11:05.060
  • So, I would suggest the next time we get too full of
  • 00:11:05.070 --> 00:11:07.280
  • ourselves, or we think we might know more than God knows, or
  • 00:11:07.290 --> 00:11:10.230
  • maybe we think God could use our advice, we ought to just go
  • 00:11:10.240 --> 00:11:13.140
  • outside and just look up.
  • 00:11:13.150 --> 00:11:14.150
  • Just go outside and just look up.
  • 00:11:14.160 --> 00:11:16.210
  • Listen, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein are Forrest
  • 00:11:16.220 --> 00:11:20.140
  • Gumps compared to God.
  • 00:11:20.150 --> 00:11:22.250
  • His understanding has no limit.
  • 00:11:22.260 --> 00:11:25.250
  • That ought to put every problem that you think you have into
  • 00:11:25.260 --> 00:11:28.210
  • perspective because think about this, if you took all the
  • 00:11:28.220 --> 00:11:31.190
  • brilliance of all the brilliant people who've ever lived on this
  • 00:11:31.200 --> 00:11:34.140
  • planet and put them in one brain, that one brain still
  • 00:11:34.150 --> 00:11:38.160
  • couldn't even explain electricity, still doesn't even
  • 00:11:38.170 --> 00:11:42.000
  • understand electricity and yet we're told, God's understanding
  • 00:11:42.010 --> 00:11:46.240
  • is unlimited.
  • 00:11:46.250 --> 00:11:48.040
  • See, my understanding is unlimited by what I know.
  • 00:11:48.050 --> 00:11:50.110
  • I can only understand what I know.
  • 00:11:50.120 --> 00:11:51.280
  • And even some things I know I don't understand.
  • 00:11:51.290 --> 00:11:54.000
  • But God's understanding's unlimited because he knows
  • 00:11:54.010 --> 00:11:57.060
  • everything.
  • 00:11:57.070 --> 00:11:58.090
  • God has yet to meet a problem that he can't solve.
  • 00:11:58.100 --> 00:12:00.220
  • But listen, it gets better than that.
  • 00:12:00.230 --> 00:12:02.130
  • Why is the psalmist telling us about how great, and how mighty,
  • 00:12:02.140 --> 00:12:05.110
  • and how powerful our God is?
  • 00:12:05.120 --> 00:12:07.110
  • His point is not just that God's power is to show us how great
  • 00:12:07.120 --> 00:12:11.250
  • God is, he said, "I want to know how much--how powerful God is
  • 00:12:11.260 --> 00:12:15.250
  • because of how much God cares."
  • 00:12:15.260 --> 00:12:18.070
  • Because listen now what he says down in verse 6.
  • 00:12:18.080 --> 00:12:21.200
  • He said, "The Lord--" Now, this is the Lord that's named all the
  • 00:12:21.210 --> 00:12:24.020
  • stars.
  • 00:12:24.030 --> 00:12:25.000
  • This is Lord that's numbered all the stars.
  • 00:12:25.010 --> 00:12:27.030
  • He says, "This Lord sustains the humble
  • 00:12:27.040 --> 00:12:32.040
  • but he casts the wicked to the ground."
  • 00:12:32.280 --> 00:12:36.110
  • What the psalmist is singing and saying is this, when you think
  • 00:12:36.120 --> 00:12:39.050
  • about this God that is so great that he just spoke and a
  • 00:12:39.060 --> 00:12:44.110
  • universe came into existence, that he has literally numbered
  • 00:12:44.120 --> 00:12:48.130
  • and named every star yet, he still has the time to sustain
  • 00:12:48.140 --> 00:12:54.020
  • the humble.
  • 00:12:54.030 --> 00:12:55.110
  • He still cares for the weak.
  • 00:12:55.120 --> 00:12:57.210
  • He's still concerned with everything that concerns us.
  • 00:12:57.220 --> 00:13:01.030
  • When we stumble, he steadies us.
  • 00:13:01.040 --> 00:13:04.060
  • When we fall, he lifts us.
  • 00:13:04.070 --> 00:13:06.170
  • When we cry, he comforts us.
  • 00:13:06.180 --> 00:13:08.230
  • This great, awesome, mighty God cares about little old me, and
  • 00:13:08.240 --> 00:13:14.230
  • little old you.
  • 00:13:14.240 --> 00:13:17.170
  • That ought to just--that in itself ought to make us just
  • 00:13:17.180 --> 00:13:20.040
  • break out into praise for the great God that we serve.
  • 00:13:20.050 --> 00:13:23.260
  • So, the psalmist says, "You know, when I praise, I give God
  • 00:13:23.270 --> 00:13:29.290
  • blessing.
  • 00:13:30.000 --> 00:13:30.250
  • When I praise, I recount God's provision.
  • 00:13:30.260 --> 00:13:34.090
  • I give God pleasure and, you know, and then I honor God's
  • 00:13:34.100 --> 00:13:38.000
  • power."
  • 00:13:38.010 --> 00:13:39.070
  • Then he says, "When I praise, I recognize God's provision.
  • 00:13:39.080 --> 00:13:42.140
  • I recognize God's provision."
  • 00:13:42.150 --> 00:13:43.220
  • Now, the psalmist adds an element to our praise.
  • 00:13:43.230 --> 00:13:45.200
  • Listen to what he says.
  • 00:13:45.210 --> 00:13:46.260
  • He says, "Sing to the Lord," and I've never seen this before,
  • 00:13:46.270 --> 00:13:49.210
  • "with grateful praise."
  • 00:13:49.220 --> 00:13:50.290
  • You know, there's more than one kind of praise.
  • 00:13:51.000 --> 00:13:52.120
  • He says, "Sing to the Lord with grateful praise, make music to
  • 00:13:52.130 --> 00:13:55.190
  • our God on the harp."
  • 00:13:55.200 --> 00:13:56.280
  • Now, I love that phrase, "grateful praise."
  • 00:13:56.290 --> 00:13:59.140
  • I've never seen it before and I thought, okay, why does he say
  • 00:13:59.150 --> 00:14:02.030
  • grateful praise?
  • 00:14:02.040 --> 00:14:03.090
  • And then I realized because praise and thanksgiving, always
  • 00:14:03.100 --> 00:14:07.280
  • go together.
  • 00:14:07.290 --> 00:14:09.060
  • I mean, they always go together.
  • 00:14:09.070 --> 00:14:11.020
  • Thanksgiving will always lead to praise and praise will always
  • 00:14:11.030 --> 00:14:14.120
  • lead to thanksgiving.
  • 00:14:14.130 --> 00:14:15.250
  • When you praise God for who he is, you will then thank God for
  • 00:14:15.260 --> 00:14:20.030
  • what he's done.
  • 00:14:20.040 --> 00:14:21.170
  • And when you thank God for what he has done, you will praise God
  • 00:14:21.180 --> 00:14:25.070
  • for who he is.
  • 00:14:25.080 --> 00:14:26.140
  • You cannot praise God and be ungrateful, and you cannot be
  • 00:14:26.150 --> 00:14:29.060
  • ungrateful and praise--and not--and cannot be grateful and
  • 00:14:29.070 --> 00:14:31.270
  • not praise God.
  • 00:14:31.280 --> 00:14:33.010
  • They always go together, but that raises a question.
  • 00:14:33.020 --> 00:14:36.170
  • Why should I be grateful in my praise?
  • 00:14:36.180 --> 00:14:39.030
  • Why should I not just praise God?
  • 00:14:39.040 --> 00:14:40.280
  • Why should I praise God in a thankful, grateful way?
  • 00:14:40.290 --> 00:14:44.070
  • Well, he tells us in verse 8.
  • 00:14:44.080 --> 00:14:46.130
  • Because he covers the sky with clouds, he supplies the earth
  • 00:14:46.140 --> 00:14:50.000
  • with rain, he makes grass grow on the hills, he provides food
  • 00:14:50.010 --> 00:14:53.280
  • for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.
  • 00:14:53.290 --> 00:14:59.160
  • If there's no other verse in the Bible that said that, I want you
  • 00:14:59.170 --> 00:15:01.220
  • to think about this.
  • 00:15:01.230 --> 00:15:03.010
  • Talk about a 21st century truth.
  • 00:15:03.020 --> 00:15:05.290
  • God is the God of climate control, and God is the God of
  • 00:15:06.000 --> 00:15:10.110
  • animal care.
  • 00:15:10.120 --> 00:15:12.020
  • He forms the clouds, he brings the rain, he grows the grass, he
  • 00:15:12.030 --> 00:15:16.280
  • sustains the birds, he feeds the beasts of the field, which oh,
  • 00:15:16.290 --> 00:15:20.080
  • by the way, which is why as followers of Jesus and
  • 00:15:20.090 --> 00:15:23.100
  • Christians, every one of us ought to be committed to
  • 00:15:23.110 --> 00:15:26.020
  • creation care.
  • 00:15:26.030 --> 00:15:27.220
  • That is not a political issue.
  • 00:15:27.230 --> 00:15:29.130
  • That is not a Democrat issue.
  • 00:15:29.140 --> 00:15:30.220
  • That's not a Republican issue.
  • 00:15:30.230 --> 00:15:32.120
  • That is a spiritual issue.
  • 00:15:32.130 --> 00:15:34.000
  • This world is not ours.
  • 00:15:34.010 --> 00:15:35.200
  • We're--we were loaned this earth.
  • 00:15:35.210 --> 00:15:37.180
  • We were loaned this planet, and we should all be committed to
  • 00:15:37.190 --> 00:15:40.230
  • creation care.
  • 00:15:40.240 --> 00:15:42.000
  • We should all be committed to treating animals well because we
  • 00:15:42.010 --> 00:15:45.010
  • don't own this world.
  • 00:15:45.020 --> 00:15:46.070
  • God owns this world, and God has given us this world to take
  • 00:15:46.080 --> 00:15:50.110
  • special care of the world that he has given us.
  • 00:15:50.120 --> 00:15:53.040
  • But by the way, did you hear what the psalmist just said
  • 00:15:53.050 --> 00:15:56.170
  • about all this life?
  • 00:15:56.180 --> 00:15:58.230
  • When you read that verse of Scripture, automatically I know
  • 00:15:58.240 --> 00:16:00.290
  • something else about this great God that I praise.
  • 00:16:01.000 --> 00:16:03.180
  • All life is valuable to God.
  • 00:16:03.190 --> 00:16:07.030
  • All life is valuable to God.
  • 00:16:07.040 --> 00:16:09.110
  • Now, listen carefully.
  • 00:16:09.120 --> 00:16:12.000
  • God does not value all life equally.
  • 00:16:12.010 --> 00:16:16.190
  • He does value all life consistently.
  • 00:16:16.200 --> 00:16:20.210
  • There's no comparison between plant life, and animal life, and
  • 00:16:20.220 --> 00:16:27.070
  • human life.
  • 00:16:27.080 --> 00:16:28.140
  • Now, all life is important to God because he created life.
  • 00:16:28.150 --> 00:16:31.070
  • He's the one who sustains life.
  • 00:16:31.080 --> 00:16:32.240
  • But we make a big mistake.
  • 00:16:32.250 --> 00:16:34.110
  • Don't listen--I'm just gonna be--let me just put it this way.
  • 00:16:34.120 --> 00:16:37.110
  • The snail darter is not nearly as important to God as an unborn
  • 00:16:37.120 --> 00:16:40.240
  • baby.
  • 00:16:40.250 --> 00:16:43.010
  • Now, let that kind of hover there a little bit.
  • 00:16:43.020 --> 00:16:46.250
  • If that makes you mad, I apologize, I'll forgive you.
  • 00:16:46.260 --> 00:16:50.180
  • God, all of life is important to God, but it is not all equally
  • 00:16:50.190 --> 00:16:55.030
  • important.
  • 00:16:55.040 --> 00:16:56.090
  • As a matter of fact, he sustains animal life, and he sustains
  • 00:16:56.100 --> 00:16:59.250
  • plant life so that human life can be sustained.
  • 00:16:59.260 --> 00:17:04.060
  • That's why we ought to praise God, not only because we live in
  • 00:17:04.070 --> 00:17:06.250
  • this world, we ought to praise God because of the world that we
  • 00:17:06.260 --> 00:17:09.290
  • live in.
  • 00:17:10.000 --> 00:17:11.060
  • I mean, frankly, I've had, in my own life I'll be honest with
  • 00:17:11.070 --> 00:17:13.190
  • you.
  • 00:17:13.200 --> 00:17:14.260
  • One of the hardest things for me to do, even to this day, is to
  • 00:17:14.270 --> 00:17:17.150
  • be thankful for rainy days.
  • 00:17:17.160 --> 00:17:18.250
  • How many of you remember The Carpenters singing, "Rainy days
  • 00:17:18.260 --> 00:17:22.080
  • and Mondays always get me down."
  • 00:17:22.090 --> 00:17:24.110
  • Forget Mondays, rainy days always get me down.
  • 00:17:24.120 --> 00:17:26.190
  • I mean always I don't care how much we needed.
  • 00:17:26.200 --> 00:17:28.100
  • I never ever like rainy days.
  • 00:17:28.110 --> 00:17:31.170
  • And I especially don't like rainy days on Friday because I
  • 00:17:31.180 --> 00:17:34.260
  • play golf on Friday.
  • 00:17:34.270 --> 00:17:36.020
  • If I could pass a law and I knew God would make it stick, it
  • 00:17:36.030 --> 00:17:38.170
  • wouldn't rain on Friday.
  • 00:17:38.180 --> 00:17:39.230
  • It can rain on Saturday, not on well Saturday, not that's
  • 00:17:39.240 --> 00:17:41.160
  • football.
  • 00:17:41.170 --> 00:17:42.130
  • Not Sunday, it's church.
  • 00:17:42.140 --> 00:17:43.210
  • And I could probably think about every reason why it should never
  • 00:17:43.220 --> 00:17:45.150
  • rain but that's just me.
  • 00:17:45.160 --> 00:17:46.230
  • But my point is, we ought to be thankful for rainy days because
  • 00:17:46.240 --> 00:17:51.170
  • it is the beginning, the psalmist says, of the food chain
  • 00:17:51.180 --> 00:17:55.050
  • process that keeps us all alive.
  • 00:17:55.060 --> 00:17:57.120
  • Which brings me to this, of all the people, the seven billion
  • 00:17:57.130 --> 00:18:01.120
  • people that live on this planet, we, more than anybody, ought to
  • 00:18:01.130 --> 00:18:06.040
  • be praising God for his bountiful, generous provision
  • 00:18:06.050 --> 00:18:09.250
  • for us.
  • 00:18:09.260 --> 00:18:10.220
  • But then he says one last thing.
  • 00:18:10.230 --> 00:18:13.100
  • He says, "When I praise, I acknowledge God's protection."
  • 00:18:13.110 --> 00:18:17.260
  • Now, I want you to watch this.
  • 00:18:17.270 --> 00:18:19.190
  • I'd never seen this before.
  • 00:18:19.200 --> 00:18:21.190
  • God doesn't just delight in the praise of his people.
  • 00:18:21.200 --> 00:18:24.250
  • God delights in the people who praise him 'cause he says in
  • 00:18:24.260 --> 00:18:28.050
  • verse 11, "The Lord delights in those who fear Him."
  • 00:18:28.060 --> 00:18:31.190
  • What a blessing that is.
  • 00:18:31.200 --> 00:18:32.270
  • "The Lord takes delight in those who fear Him, who put their hope
  • 00:18:32.280 --> 00:18:35.180
  • in his unfailing love."
  • 00:18:35.190 --> 00:18:37.250
  • When God looks at me and he says, "I see that you have that
  • 00:18:37.260 --> 00:18:42.030
  • reverential fear for me, and I see that you put your hope--" No
  • 00:18:42.040 --> 00:18:46.210
  • matter what else is going on the world, "I see that you put your
  • 00:18:46.220 --> 00:18:49.060
  • hope in my unfailing love."
  • 00:18:49.070 --> 00:18:51.140
  • God says, "Man, I take delight in that."
  • 00:18:51.150 --> 00:18:54.290
  • But then he goes further, he shows us on a daily basis, by
  • 00:18:55.000 --> 00:19:00.140
  • providing us with his protection that gives us peace.
  • 00:19:00.150 --> 00:19:03.160
  • Now, listen to what he says beginning in verse 13.
  • 00:19:03.170 --> 00:19:06.100
  • "He strengthens the bars of your gates.
  • 00:19:06.110 --> 00:19:09.150
  • He blesses your people within you.
  • 00:19:09.160 --> 00:19:12.110
  • He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the
  • 00:19:12.120 --> 00:19:15.100
  • finest of wheat.
  • 00:19:15.110 --> 00:19:16.210
  • He sends his command to the earth, his Word runs swiftly."
  • 00:19:16.220 --> 00:19:20.250
  • Now, the songwriter is so fired up about what God does and how
  • 00:19:20.260 --> 00:19:25.180
  • God provides.
  • 00:19:25.190 --> 00:19:26.180
  • He lists four things that God does for us.
  • 00:19:26.190 --> 00:19:29.280
  • And I'll tell you why I believe he listed them.
  • 00:19:29.290 --> 00:19:31.220
  • We don't even think about it.
  • 00:19:31.230 --> 00:19:34.060
  • We don't even really pay any attention to it.
  • 00:19:34.070 --> 00:19:36.070
  • We don't even realize it.
  • 00:19:36.080 --> 00:19:37.120
  • But listen to what he says.
  • 00:19:37.130 --> 00:19:38.100
  • There four things on a daily basis.
  • 00:19:38.110 --> 00:19:40.100
  • First of all, he strengthens the bars of our gates.
  • 00:19:40.110 --> 00:19:46.220
  • How does he do that?
  • 00:19:46.230 --> 00:19:48.180
  • He provides legislators who pass laws to protect our liberties.
  • 00:19:48.190 --> 00:19:53.060
  • He provides judges to see that those liberties are enforced.
  • 00:19:53.070 --> 00:19:57.040
  • He said number two, he blesses the people within that city.
  • 00:19:57.050 --> 00:20:02.030
  • Now, the Hebrew word for people there literally means children.
  • 00:20:02.040 --> 00:20:05.000
  • He blesses the children within that city.
  • 00:20:05.010 --> 00:20:07.220
  • How does he bless our children?
  • 00:20:07.230 --> 00:20:09.240
  • Through the unselfish work of teachers who educate them.
  • 00:20:09.250 --> 00:20:13.250
  • By the way, how many of you are school teachers?
  • 00:20:13.260 --> 00:20:15.240
  • Hold your hand up if you're a school--hey, we thank God for
  • 00:20:15.250 --> 00:20:18.220
  • you.
  • 00:20:18.230 --> 00:20:19.260
  • We really do thank God for what you do for our kids.
  • 00:20:19.270 --> 00:20:22.080
  • But he provides teachers to educate them, doctors who care
  • 00:20:22.090 --> 00:20:27.090
  • for them, parents who love them.
  • 00:20:29.110 --> 00:20:31.160
  • Then he says this, he gives peace to our borders.
  • 00:20:31.170 --> 00:20:34.150
  • How does he do that?
  • 00:20:34.160 --> 00:20:35.220
  • He gives us policemen who guard our communities, soldiers who
  • 00:20:35.230 --> 00:20:38.220
  • guard our nation, laws that bring the guilty to justice.
  • 00:20:38.230 --> 00:20:41.270
  • And then he says, finally, he satisfies us with the finest
  • 00:20:41.280 --> 00:20:46.020
  • of wheat.
  • 00:20:46.030 --> 00:20:46.270
  • How does he do that today?
  • 00:20:46.280 --> 00:20:48.070
  • Farmers, factory workers, grocery stores, restaurants.
  • 00:20:48.080 --> 00:20:52.200
  • He says, "Look, all of these things come from the hand of
  • 00:20:52.210 --> 00:20:55.250
  • God, that we should give a shout out to every day in every way."
  • 00:20:55.260 --> 00:21:00.140
  • So, I want to wrap this up.
  • 00:21:00.150 --> 00:21:03.040
  • I want to take you back over 200 years ago to a president, his
  • 00:21:03.050 --> 00:21:08.280
  • name was Thomas Jefferson.
  • 00:21:08.290 --> 00:21:11.170
  • Some of the greatest words that Thomas Jefferson ever wrote were
  • 00:21:11.180 --> 00:21:15.160
  • these words, and they're so applicable to where we are
  • 00:21:15.170 --> 00:21:18.070
  • today.
  • 00:21:18.080 --> 00:21:19.190
  • He said, "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we
  • 00:21:19.200 --> 00:21:25.030
  • have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds
  • 00:21:25.040 --> 00:21:30.160
  • of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?"
  • 00:21:30.170 --> 00:21:36.110
  • So true, so right.
  • 00:21:36.120 --> 00:21:40.160
  • And I realize to more and more people, it doesn't mean
  • 00:21:40.170 --> 00:21:43.130
  • a whole lot.
  • 00:21:43.140 --> 00:21:44.180
  • And I realize more and more people are offended by it.
  • 00:21:44.190 --> 00:21:47.120
  • I personally think one of the greatest things this nation ever
  • 00:21:47.130 --> 00:21:49.220
  • did is when we put in our currency, "In God we trust."
  • 00:21:49.230 --> 00:21:53.280
  • There's no other country in the world that has their own
  • 00:21:53.290 --> 00:21:55.200
  • currency, no other country in the world that has that.
  • 00:21:55.210 --> 00:21:57.180
  • And I realize that can be just words, I get all that.
  • 00:21:57.190 --> 00:22:01.090
  • But Thomas Jefferson was right.
  • 00:22:01.100 --> 00:22:02.220
  • The only thing that secures our freedom and our liberty at the
  • 00:22:02.230 --> 00:22:06.200
  • end, don't fool yourself.
  • 00:22:06.210 --> 00:22:07.240
  • It's not our nuclear arsenal.
  • 00:22:07.250 --> 00:22:10.100
  • It's not our Army.
  • 00:22:10.110 --> 00:22:11.090
  • It's not the Air Force.
  • 00:22:11.100 --> 00:22:12.060
  • It's not the Marines.
  • 00:22:12.070 --> 00:22:13.010
  • It's not the Navy.
  • 00:22:13.020 --> 00:22:14.050
  • And thank God for the military, that's not my point.
  • 00:22:14.060 --> 00:22:16.220
  • At the end of the day, it's not the might of the missile.
  • 00:22:16.230 --> 00:22:21.030
  • It is not the strength of the soldier.
  • 00:22:21.040 --> 00:22:23.050
  • It is the security of the God in whom we trust that gives us our
  • 00:22:23.060 --> 00:22:26.150
  • liberties on a daily basis.
  • 00:22:26.160 --> 00:22:28.210
  • And see, that's what praise does.
  • 00:22:33.050 --> 00:22:36.010
  • Praise reminds us everything I have is yours and comes
  • 00:22:36.020 --> 00:22:39.270
  • from you.
  • 00:22:39.280 --> 00:22:40.250
  • Everything I am is yours and come from you.
  • 00:22:40.260 --> 00:22:43.150
  • Everything I am and ever will hope to be, it begins and ends
  • 00:22:43.160 --> 00:22:47.250
  • with the God that did it all.
  • 00:22:47.260 --> 00:22:50.100
  • And it is this God, who, if he had not done anything else at
  • 00:22:50.110 --> 00:22:55.230
  • all, deserves our everlasting praise on a daily basis because
  • 00:22:55.240 --> 00:23:01.040
  • he is the God who sent his everlasting Son to die on a
  • 00:23:01.050 --> 00:23:07.140
  • cross and come back from the dead that we might have
  • 00:23:07.150 --> 00:23:10.200
  • everlasting life.
  • 00:23:10.210 --> 00:23:12.280
  • If for no other reason, just that one reason alone, how we
  • 00:23:12.290 --> 00:23:16.180
  • ought to just every day, just spend time praising God because
  • 00:23:16.190 --> 00:23:22.090
  • listen, I'm gonna wrap up now I'm done.
  • 00:23:22.100 --> 00:23:24.100
  • Everything we have, even our very existence, is by the grace
  • 00:23:27.290 --> 00:23:34.080
  • of God.
  • 00:23:34.090 --> 00:23:36.270
  • Everything we do is enabled by the greatness of God.
  • 00:23:36.280 --> 00:23:42.170
  • Every breath we take, every freedom we enjoy, comes from the
  • 00:23:42.180 --> 00:23:46.090
  • goodness of God.
  • 00:23:46.100 --> 00:23:48.120
  • And that's why we ought to begin every day and we ought to end
  • 00:23:48.130 --> 00:23:52.080
  • every day, and we ought to spend every day shouting out praise to
  • 00:23:52.090 --> 00:23:57.220
  • the God from whom all blessings flow.
  • 00:23:57.230 --> 00:24:02.280
  • announcer: Stay tuned for a final word from Dr. Merritt.
  • 00:24:03.130 --> 00:24:05.230
  • announcer: To watch an extended version of today's
  • 00:24:05.240 --> 00:24:07.260
  • teaching message with Dr. James Merritt,
  • 00:24:07.270 --> 00:24:10.110
  • go to touchinglives.org.
  • 00:24:10.120 --> 00:24:13.120
  • announcer: Join James and Teresa Merritt this fall in
  • 00:24:16.190 --> 00:24:19.050
  • beautiful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for the 2019 Mountain
  • 00:24:19.060 --> 00:24:22.100
  • Top Conference.
  • 00:24:22.110 --> 00:24:23.250
  • Hear powerful preaching from Dr. Merritt, great music from the
  • 00:24:23.260 --> 00:24:26.230
  • Cathedrals Family Reunion and the Booth Brothers, and
  • 00:24:26.240 --> 00:24:29.190
  • sidesplitting comedy from the one and only Tim Lovelace.
  • 00:24:29.200 --> 00:24:33.020
  • Also, this year's program includes an encouraging message
  • 00:24:33.030 --> 00:24:35.290
  • from special guest, Ron Walters.
  • 00:24:36.000 --> 00:24:38.000
  • Your conference ticket includes admission to Dolly Parton's
  • 00:24:38.010 --> 00:24:41.110
  • Stampede Dinner Show, the Smoky Mountain Opry, and a day pass to
  • 00:24:41.120 --> 00:24:44.170
  • Dollywood.
  • 00:24:44.180 --> 00:24:46.030
  • You don't want to miss Mountain Top 2019 as you will leave
  • 00:24:46.040 --> 00:24:49.170
  • relaxed, refreshed, and renewed after spending time in the
  • 00:24:49.180 --> 00:24:53.280
  • beautiful Smoky Mountains.
  • 00:24:53.290 --> 00:24:55.170
  • Sign up now to join James and Teresa Merritt for this amazing
  • 00:24:55.180 --> 00:24:58.070
  • experience by going to mountaintopconference.com,
  • 00:24:58.080 --> 00:25:01.130
  • or by calling 800-309-0816,
  • 00:25:01.140 --> 00:25:06.090
  • 800-309-0816.
  • 00:25:06.100 --> 00:25:11.060
  • James: People often ask me the easiest way to connect with
  • 00:25:17.030 --> 00:25:19.050
  • "Touching Lives," and the quickest way to find the weekly
  • 00:25:19.060 --> 00:25:21.030
  • sermons.
  • 00:25:21.040 --> 00:25:22.040
  • I get it all the time.
  • 00:25:22.050 --> 00:25:23.090
  • Well, the answer right here on your phone.
  • 00:25:23.100 --> 00:25:26.160
  • The "Touching Lives" mobile app is available for free.
  • 00:25:26.170 --> 00:25:29.030
  • It has been newly redesigned from top to bottom.
  • 00:25:29.040 --> 00:25:32.180
  • And honestly, the new design's pretty cool, in fact, it's
  • 00:25:32.190 --> 00:25:36.100
  • spectacular.
  • 00:25:36.110 --> 00:25:37.170
  • Through this app, you can watch nearly ten years of messages,
  • 00:25:37.180 --> 00:25:40.230
  • read the daily devotions, you can even set up your own
  • 00:25:40.240 --> 00:25:43.000
  • Bible-reading plan.
  • 00:25:43.010 --> 00:25:44.230
  • You need to get this app on your phone today.
  • 00:25:44.240 --> 00:25:47.210
  • Download the "Touching Lives" mobile app for free right now by
  • 00:25:47.220 --> 00:25:51.080
  • searching for "Touching Lives" in the App Store.
  • 00:25:51.090 --> 00:25:54.130
  • And by the way, every time you open this app, pray for me, pray
  • 00:25:54.140 --> 00:25:58.060
  • for the ministry, and thanks for watching.
  • 00:25:58.070 --> 00:26:00.200
  • James: Well, this week wraps up our series Music To My Ears,
  • 00:26:02.030 --> 00:26:04.280
  • and I can't think of a better way to end then with giving
  • 00:26:04.290 --> 00:26:07.220
  • praise to God.
  • 00:26:07.230 --> 00:26:09.030
  • The Word of God tells us it is good to praise the Lord.
  • 00:26:09.040 --> 00:26:12.150
  • Our praise his music to his ears.
  • 00:26:12.160 --> 00:26:14.270
  • It's a gift to him, and it's when we expect nothing in return
  • 00:26:14.280 --> 00:26:17.060
  • except to bring him honor and glory.
  • 00:26:17.070 --> 00:26:20.000
  • And the more we use our tongues to speak and sing our praises to
  • 00:26:20.010 --> 00:26:22.250
  • God, the less likely we are to use them to curse
  • 00:26:22.260 --> 00:26:25.290
  • our fellow man.
  • 00:26:26.000 --> 00:26:27.080
  • Praising him makes us happier toward others.
  • 00:26:27.090 --> 00:26:29.190
  • We acknowledge the power of God when we praise him.
  • 00:26:29.200 --> 00:26:32.060
  • Repeating Scriptures of what God has already done is honoring to
  • 00:26:32.070 --> 00:26:35.010
  • him and a reminder to us of how great our God really is.
  • 00:26:35.020 --> 00:26:39.080
  • Praising him makes us grateful for who he is and what he's done
  • 00:26:39.090 --> 00:26:42.090
  • for us personally.
  • 00:26:42.100 --> 00:26:43.260
  • He's present in the details of our lives, and we ought to
  • 00:26:43.270 --> 00:26:46.160
  • thank him.
  • 00:26:46.170 --> 00:26:47.230
  • Not only does he provide, but he protects, he strengthens us.
  • 00:26:47.240 --> 00:26:51.110
  • He's the only one who will never fail us.
  • 00:26:51.120 --> 00:26:54.050
  • So, I want to urge you to spend even more time this week just
  • 00:26:54.060 --> 00:26:56.200
  • praising God.
  • 00:26:56.210 --> 00:26:58.040
  • Look to the Scriptures for guidance.
  • 00:26:58.050 --> 00:26:59.270
  • Thank him for the great God that he is.
  • 00:26:59.280 --> 00:27:02.000
  • And be sure to tune in next week as we start a new series that
  • 00:27:02.010 --> 00:27:05.170
  • will bring us into the Christmas season.
  • 00:27:05.180 --> 00:27:08.080
  • And as always, for watching, for praying, and for financially
  • 00:27:08.090 --> 00:27:13.040
  • supporting this ministry, thank you.
  • 00:27:13.050 --> 00:27:15.200
  • announcer: "Touching Lives," teaching people everywhere who
  • 00:27:16.290 --> 00:27:19.080
  • Jesus is and why they need him.
  • 00:27:19.090 --> 00:27:21.160
  • This program is sponsored by Touching Lives Ministries and is
  • 00:27:21.170 --> 00:27:24.070
  • made possible by the grace of God and your faithful prayers
  • 00:27:24.080 --> 00:27:27.220
  • and gifts.
  • 00:27:27.230 --> 00:27:29.030
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