Pastor’s Blog

Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, July 10, 2020
Psalm 22

The blackcaps are ripe.  I’ll go pick a bucketful and make jelly this weekend.  It’s amazing how much food grows right in the ditch.

PSALM 22

This Psalm contains many prophecies and references to the coming Messiah, particularly about His death.  Spend a half hour and compare this Psalm to the 4 accounts of Christ’s death in the Gospels.

 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  v. 1

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Psalm 21

It rained this morning.  That’s good.  We take rain for granted, but we shouldn’t.  Without it our earth would die.  Yet we can’t create or stop the rain.   God created our ecosystem to provide water for us and the plants.  It happens apart from us.

Whenever it rains, remember a couple of things:  One; God is very, very powerful.  This is His foolproof, wildly amazing system to sustain life  (Psalm 147:8-9).  Two; God is very, very good.  He remembers us and cares for us (Leviticus 26:4-5).

PSALM 21

Sometimes David looks back on his life and talks to God about it.  Sometimes he looks ahead and asks God for something.

In Psalm 21, David is looking at his life in the present and seeing God in it.

“You have granted him (David) his heart’s desire
      and have not withheld the request of his lips.
   You came to greet him with rich blessings
          and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.”  v. 2-3

It’s easy to miss God in the present, especially when things are going well.  You and I can be like David – we can learn to recognize the current blessing and joy in our lives, and we can bask in it knowing that it comes from the hand and the presence of God.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Psalm 20

Don’t forget the campfire tonight at Cedarcreek!  Come around 6:30.

PSALM 20

Here’s a famous verse that I am praying for our country as we celebrate its birthday:

“Some nations boast of their chariots and horses,
      but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.”  v. 7  NLT

I pray that we will be a nation that sees and loves and follows and boasts in the Lord.  I pray He will truly be the Lord our God.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Psalm 19

We recorded a podcast on racism last week.  It’s a discussion amongst the pastors (plus Matt Novacek) about how we as Christians might think about racism.

This is a candid, unscripted conversation.  It isn’t meant to be a teaching.  Our hope is that as we share our thoughts and questions, you will be stimulated to go to God and develop your own thoughts.

You can find the podcast here:    https://www.ccreek.org/sermons/a-conversation-about-racism/

PSALM 19

The Psalms are different than other parts of the Bible.  The Psalms weren’t meant to be primarily informational.  The goal isn’t necessarily teaching.  So the Psalms often tend to be less linear.  Psalm 19 is one of those Psalms.  It starts with a discourse on how nature reveals God to the world.   Then it moves into how God’s laws and commands are very good.  It ends with a prayer for help to avoid sin.

I’m not exactly sure how that all fits together.  But I do know that it contains a prayer that I have prayed over the years:

“Who can discern his errors?
     Forgive my hidden faults.
  Keep your servant also from willful sins;
      may they not rule over me.
  Then I will be blameless,
        innocent of great transgression.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
      be pleasing in your sigh,
  O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”  vs.  12-14

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, July 6, 2020
Psalm 18

On Mondays Sue and I take a Sabbath.  The four things we incorporate into the day are:  Stop (don’t do normal things), Rest (lots of down time), Contemplate (read and pray at different times during the day), and Delight (do stuff you really like).  It’s been a good thing for us.

PSALM 18

Psalm 18 is a reflection for David.  As he looks back on his life, he is recognizing that he has successfully come through many troubled times – times of uncertainty and fear and danger.

 “The cords of death entangled me;
       the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
   The cords of the grave coiled around me;
         the snares of death confronted me.”  vs. 4-5

David seems to acknowledge two ways that God brought about his deliverance in those terrible times.  The first was God’s direct, overwhelming and perfect help when David was helpless.  In those times God protected David and fought the enemies for him.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
     He drew me out of deep waters. 
 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
       from my foes, who were too strong for me.”  vs. 16-17

The second was God’s strengthening of David, so that David could fight the fight himself.

“I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
       I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
    I crushed them so that they could not rise;
         they fell beneath my feet.
     You armed me with strength for battle
   You humbled my adversaries before me.”  vs. 37-39

What are the enemies that you face?  Look to God.  He can defeat them for you, or He can strengthen you to defeat them.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, July 3, 2020
Psalm 17

It’s a good exercise to read the Bible in different versions.   The NIV is my go to version.  But from time to time I’ll set it aside and read out of a different version.  Right now I’m reading the Revised Standard Version.

Reading different versions makes us think about what we are reading.  I’ve read NIV so much that I almost know what’s coming next.  I can almost turn off my brain and just skate through it.  Reading the same thoughts in different words forces me to consider what I’m reading.

Maybe invest in a different translation.  I quoted RSV for our Psalm today.

PSALM 17

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to take David’s Psalms.  This Psalm is one of those for me.

David seems to make extreme statements that are at least only partially true, if not completely false.  For example:

“If thou triest my heart, if thou visitest me by night,
     if thou testest me, thou wilt find no wickedness in me;
         my mouth does not transgress.”  v. 3   RSV

Yet in other places (Psalm 51 for example) David acknowledges and frets over his sin.

Another example:

“I have avoided the ways of the violent”  v.4

Yet God would not allow David to be the one to build the temple since David had ‘shed so much blood.’ (1 Chronicles 22:7-8)

I think it shows some of how David was wired; that is, I think he was an extremely emotional man, whose emotions sometime took control of his thinking.

But regardless of the reason, I think David’s great strength was that he always came back to something like this:

“As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness;
      when I awake, I shall be satisfied with beholding thy form.”  v. 15

We are all different in our temperaments and in our life histories.  But all of us, no matter what we are good at or what we struggle with, can rest in God’s presence.  That’s what made David great.  Not his accomplishments or perfection or natural abilities, but his diligent seeking and resting in God.  That’s what makes us great as well.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Psalm 16

We will have a virtual communion this Sunday at 9AM.  If you would like to participate, please email Rob.

PSALM 16

This is one of my favorite Psalms.  I memorized it as a young man.  I would walk home from law school and recite this Psalm to myself.  Over the years, God has used the lines of this Psalm to speak to me in many times and places.   It has been a comfort when I’m afraid, a guide when I’m confused, a promise when I’m hopeless, a joy when I’m content.

These Psalms were used as songs, and probably memorized.  Committing scripture to memory is a powerful, helpful thing.  I’d encourage you to find a Psalm that resonates with you and memorize it.

 “ You have made known to me the path of life;
      You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
   with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  v. 11

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Psalm 15

Don’t forget the campfire tonight at church!

Also, the plan is to record the first of our podcasts dealing with race, power, etc on Friday.  Assuming all goes well, it will be available sometime this weekend.  We’ll keep you notified.

PSALM 15

Even as forgiven Christians, how we conduct ourselves matters.  The Psalm lists several things that someone who longs to be close to God should do or should not do, as the case may be.

This person will enjoy a closeness to God; a relational joy and intimacy that comes from obeying your Father, your King.

“ Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
      Who may live on your holy hill?”  v. 1 

This person will enjoy satisfaction and stability here in this life.

“He who does these things
      will never be shaken.”  v. 5

Rob

 

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Psalm 14

Hope everyone is staying cool.  As I get older, the heat bothers me less.  But I still don’t like it a lot.  My daughter Katie LOVES the heat.  It was 94 in Jamestown ND where she lives the other day.  She was outside soaking it up.  I’m glad for her!  If you are a person who like the heat, I’m glad for you too!

PSALM 14

David again divides the world into two groups:  Those who know and acknowledge God and those who don’t.  We don’t like those kinds of distinctions, but they are real.   How you respond to God defines and shapes you more than any other thing.

 “There they are, overwhelmed with dread,
      for God is present in the company of the righteous.”  v.. 5

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Psalm 13

Hot!  Looks like it will be hot for a while.  This is the time that we get drought if it’s coming.  An old farmer told me that it will always rain in August (because of hurricanes in the Atlantic), but July was the critical month for rain and crops.

Don’t know if he is right, but I know that in these hot summer days, God is in control.  Job 37:14-18

PSALM 13

I suspect that David wrestled with some form of emotional distress.  In our days these are often given an official diagnosis, but I suspect that all of us have some form of emotional trauma and dysfunction.  Human struggle is not new.  When I read this Psalm, I hear that deep, painful struggle in David.  I hear the sorrow and agony of not being able to fix it himself.

“How long must I bear pain in my soul,
     and have sorrow in my heart all the day?”  v. 2  RSV

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
      and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”  v. 2  NIV

But David did have a solution.

“But I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
      my heart will rejoice in thy salvation.
  I will sing to the Lord,
         because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  vs. 5-6

That same solution is there for you and me.  David sought God, not because he had no other options, but because he knew it was his best option.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Psalm 12

I’m on my way to Cornucopia this afternoon.  My sister has a rental house on Lake Superior that I go to regularly.  I’ll spend the night, then spend all morning reading, praying and studying.  It’s one of the best practices I’ve developed as a pastor and a Christian.  Those uninterrupted, dedicated hours listening and talking to God are so good.  It’s not that God is more present there than here; rather, it’s that I’m making an effort to be more aware of His presence.

PSALM 12

Another Psalm that speaks to me about the world you and I live in now.  I think it helps answer the unanswered question from yesterday.

Again we see the degenerate state of the world:

“Help, Lord; for there is no longer any that is godly;
     for the faithful have vanished from among the sons of men.” v. 1

But David sees something else that is real, and it’s real for us as well.

“The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
      silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
          purified seven times.”  v. 6

Those promises give David confidence in the midst of a wicked world.

“Do thou, O Lord, protect us,
     guard us ever from this generation.”  v. 7   RSV

Do you have promises from God?  Can you name them?  You can and should

 

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Psalm 11

Don’t forget about the campfires here at church every Wednesday beginning at 6:30.  Bring some meat to grill over the fire, or just come to hang out with some of your church family.  Call Jonas Bates or Dan Gruenig for more info.

PSALM 11

This Psalm asks a question that I don’t know how to answer.  The question is:

 “When the foundations are being destroyed,
      what can the righteous do?”  v. 3

It feels to me that the foundations of our society are being destroyed.  We, as a country and a culture, seem to be systematically eliminating God and His Word from our thoughts and actions.  As I read the newspaper, I increasingly feel frustrated and helpless.  I have a desperate desire to do something, but it feels like the pushing against a tidal wave.

This Psalm doesn’t specifically answer the question.  But it does remind me of another truth.

 “For the Lord is righteous,
      He loves justice;
   upright men will see His face.”  vs. 16-17 

I need to do what God has put in front of me today:  Love those close to me, speak when I have opportunity, serve God and His people.  God will do what He does.

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Psalm 10

I’ll have a Performance Review in July.  I get a yearly review from a panel made up of the other Pastors, one Deacon and one Trustee.

This is part of our Pastoral Leadership and Authority document.  You can see it here:

https://www.ccreek.org/content/2020/06/Pastoral-Leadership-and-Authority-2020b.pdf

PSALM 10

This Psalm could have been written this year.  Some people think the Bible is outdated.  I say no.  It speaks to the human condition which doesn’t change.  As people, our needs, our desires, our struggles don’t change through the years.  Individually and as societies we need the same things.  God knows our needs and meets them.

Seeking and following God is the greatest need of our time, just like it was for David’s time.

“The Lord is King for ever and ever;
      the nations will perish from his land.
  You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
         You encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”  vs. 16-17

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, June 22, 2020
Psalm 9

Couple of things:

  1. Our own special Cedarcreek hacker is still at it.  He sends emails with my name and asks people to contact him about a ‘special favor’.  If you respond, he asks you to buy gift cards and send them to him.  They don’t come from either of my email addresses.  Don’t fall for it!!!!!
  2. I will (hopefully) have the document dealing with the Minneapolis events finalized by Wednesday morning.  I’ll send it out to those who have asked for it then.
  3. Going to pick strawberries this afternoon!!!!

PSALM 9

This Psalm seems to speak to many of the issues that are being debated in our country.  Social justice, power, oppression, etc.

This may sound trite, but no matter where you are in the debate or in social status or in chain of command, your first response as a Christian MUST be the same:  I will seek and trust God.

“The Lord reigns forever;
    He has established his throne for judgment.
        He will judge the world in righteousness;
   He will govern the peoples with justice.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
     a stronghold in times of trouble.

Those who know your name will trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”  vs.  7-10

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, June 19, 2020
Psalm 8

I’ve had several requests for the document we as pastors have prepared that lays out some core Biblical understanding related to the current events in Minneapolis.

As with all written documents, edits are inevitable.  We sent the document to the Advisory Council here at church and have received some suggestions for edits.  Nothing major, it’s  more wording to make things more clear.

So we will let a few more folks take a look at the document and comment on it before we send it out.

Thanks for your patience.

PSALM 8

We often go to the Psalms to speak to our emotions.  But they are also very instructive; that is, there is much in the them to help us understand God’s creation.

Psalm 8 is one such Psalm.  It lays out for us the chain of command for God’s physical creation – the earth that we live on.  In basic terms, the chain of command I see is this:  God is the King and Creator of this physical earth.  Humans are God’s special creation, valued highly by God as His sons and daughters.  The rest of creation, all animals and plants – the earth and seas – have been put under mans’ dominion.

How we are to exercise that dominion is a topic for another day.

This understanding is echoed in many places in Scripture.  Psalm 8 just boils it down into a concise form.

“You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
       and crowned him with glory and honor.

  You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
        You put everything under his feet.”  vs. 5-6

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Psalm 7

We (the pastors) have been impacted by the events in Minneapolis, just like many of you.  The death of George Floyd and the ensuing unrest has raised many issues.  We are wrestling with those issues as a nation and as individuals.  We need to wrestle with those issues as a church and as Christians as well.

To that end, we have drafted a paper laying out what we believe to be some core Biblical issues that need to inform our understanding of what has happened and how to respond going forward.  There are copies of that paper on the white board at church.  If you’d like, let Justin or me know and we can email you a copy.

We are also planning a series of audio and/or video discussions between the pastors.  These discussions will get more specific and deal with some of the more practical, and often more difficult, issues.  We’ll record our first one next week and make it available online.

PSALM 7

David had a lot of enemies.  Some were enemies through no fault of David’s.  Other enemies David created for himself.  David sometimes treated his enemies well.  Sometimes he held a vindictive grudge.  But one thing David always did was go to God and talk to Him about those enemies.

(If you really want to understand the Psalms, spend some time in First and Second Samuel.  You’ll see David’s life.  It will give you perspective and background into what David writes in the Psalms.)

 “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
      save and deliver me from all who pursue me.”  v. 1

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Psalm 6

Went to my first farmers market on Monday.  Yesterday and today we are eating fresh greens.  Mmmmm.  God is good.

PSALM 6

A cry from David’s broken heart.  At David’s most vulnerable, broken times, he bared his soul to the Lord.

We can do this as well.

“I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.

Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Psalm 5

The strawberries are beginning to ripen.  The blackcaps aren’t far behind.  Pretty soon it will be jelly season!

I love the rhythm of God’s creation.  The world follows predictable patterns.  This is God’s doing.  Yet within those patterns, we see infinite variations.  That is also God’s doing.

Some of us love routine, and God gives it to us.  Some of us love variation, and God gives us that.

PSALM 5

The Gospel is not just a New Testament idea.  God had planned it for generations.  He spoke of it often in the Old Testament.

Here in Psalm 5, David recognizes that he stands righteous before God, not by his own works, but by God’s doing.

He knows that sinful men cannot be with God

“The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
      You hate all who do wrong.”  v. 5

Yet, David stands peacefully and confidently before God:

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
     In the morning I lay my requests before you
  and wait in expectation.”  v. 3

How can David, a sinful man, stand righteously before God?

“But I, by your great mercy,
      will come into your house;
   in reverence will I bow down
        toward your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness. . .”  vs. 7-8

David trusts God’s love for him; he humbles himself, before God; God makes him righteous in a new way; then God brings him home.  That’s the Gospel!

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Psalm 4

It is a beautiful day.  Get outside and watch God’s amazing creation.  As you do, remember that He caused the sun to come up this morning; He caused the grass and flowers to grow.

PSALM 4

There is a powerful phrase at the end of this Psalm:

“Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord.
     You have filled my heart with greater joy
   than when their grain and new wine abound.
       I will lie down and sleep in peace,
           for you alone, O Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.”  vs. 6-8

This Psalm could be, and likely is, speaking about David’s physical safety and well-being.  But it is just as likely, and I think probable, that David is thinking about his mental and emotional safety and well-being as well.

We spend billions of dollars and thousands of hours seeking professional help for our emotional and mental struggles.  And there is surely some help in medicine and counseling.  But David recognizes the ultimate source of his peace – it is ‘The Light Of Your Face.’

Look at the things that David finds in God’s presence:  relief from distress; mercy; freedom from shame; joy; sleep; peace; safety.

God is better, stronger, more present and loving than we know.  I want to seek Him more and more.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, June 12, 2020
Psalm 3

Jonas Bates and Daniel Gruenig are coordinating weekly campfires here at Cedarcreek.  Starting THIS WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17 there will a campfire here at our fire pit.  Bring meat to grill over the fire if you like.  Starts at 6:30PM.  This will be every weekly event.  Contact Jonas or Daniel if you’ve got questions.

PSALM 3

This Psalm was written by David at perhaps the worst time of his life.  He had been betrayed and chased from Jerusalem.  Much of the nation was now seeking to kill him.  He was on the run, with few allies.  His kingdom was in turmoil and on the brink of civil war.  But the real agony must have been that all of this had been orchestrated and executed by his own son.  (This is all found in 2 Samuel 15-17)

On top of all that, David knew that all of this was his own fault.  He had sinned terribly some years earlier with Uriah and Bathsheba.  (You can read that story is in 2 Samuel 11-12.)

Yet David remembered God’s promises.  He trusted God and relied on Him in his most desperate time.  His faith and confidence in God’s love was strong, even though David knew his own sin had brought him to this place.

 “But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
     You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
  To the Lord I cry aloud,
       and He answers me from His holy hill.”  vs. 3-4

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Psalm 2

We video the weekend message on Saturday morning so people who aren’t at the service can still see the message on Sunday morning.

If you would like to hear the message live, but want to avoid larger gatherings, feel free to come and be part of the ‘studio audience’ on Saturday morning.  We film at 10AM, and anyone is welcome to come and hear the message then.

If you do come Saturday, please enter by the OLD FOYER since the new foyer will be used by another group.

PSALM 2

I read this Psalm with fear for our nation.  It appears to me that we as a nation are rejecting God’s Word and God’s Kingdom.  We have replaced His standards with our own; we have sought our own pleasure and enrichment on this earth rather than a reward in heaven.  We look for what we can get for ourselves, as opposed to seeking God’s favor.

God judges nations, just as he judges individual.  But I think nations are judged more harshly.  This Psalm speaks of that.

I pray that we as a nation will turn to God.  As a church we play a big part of that.  We are the light of the world.  I pray that we at Cedarcreek will be a beacon of truth and grace.  I pray that God will use us to bring people to Him, and as people draw near to God, our nation will as well.

“Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
and you be destroyed in your way.”  vs. 11-12

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Psalm 1

Two things:

  1. Still looking for feedback on whether or not to continue the Daily emails.  So far feedback has been positive, but please let me know your thoughts.  Of course, if you don’t want them, always feel free to unsubscribe by contacting Justin.
  2. MANY OF YOU ARE GETTING EMAILS THAT PURPORT TO BE FROM ME asking for gift cards, etc.  These don’t come from either of my email addresses, and the are not from me.  PLEASE DON’T RESPOND TO AN EMAIL THAT ASKS YOU FOR GIFT CARDS, MONEY OR ANYTHING ELSE.  If you’re not sure, just give me a call.

PSALM 1

This Psalm reminds us again that there are really just two ways to live your life:  Loving, obeying, drawing close to God; or not.  The Bible is clear that regardless of whatever choices we have, whatever differences there are between us, the most foundational and defining choice and difference between people is this one.  Are you seeking, loving, obeying God, or are you not.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
      and on His law he meditates day and night.”  v. 2

“Not so the wicked!
   They are like chaff the wind blows away.”  v. 4

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Psalm 150

Two things:

  1. I have been in contact with an organization in Eau Claire that is collecting items for distribution in Minneapolis for people impacted by the riots.  It’s made it hard for many families to get the daily care things that they need.  I’ve attached a copy of an email detailing what we can donate and where to take it (it’s downtown Eau Claire).  If you have a desire to help out, please do s
  2. I’m looking for feedback on whether to continue these daily emails.  I’m inclined to keep going through the summer.  That would allow us to get through all of the Psalms.  But I’d like to know if this is something you folks are interested in continuing.  Please let me know your thoughts one way or the other.

PSALM 150

Praise God!

“Praise the Lord. 

    Praise God in his sanctuary;
       Praise him in his mighty heavens.
    Praise him for his acts of power;
      Praise him for his surpassing greatness.
   Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
      Praise him with the harp and lyre,
   Praise him with tambourine and dancing,
      Praise him with the strings and flute,
   Praise him with the clash of cymbals,
     Praise him with resounding cymbals.

    Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord

 Praise the Lord!”

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, June 8, 2020
Psalm 149

Hot day.  90+ degrees this afternoon.  But the high temperature on Wednesday is forecast to be in the low 60s.  In between those temperatures we’ll likely have a big storm.

The weather always reminds me of God.  If you want to read about it, look at Job 37 and 38.  The first chapter is someone watching a storm role in while he reflects on God’s power and control over the weather.  The second chapter is God himself speaking about that power.

PSALM 149

There is an interesting flow to this Psalm.  It goes from the joy the writer feels while praising God to the joy he feels when he joins in God’s judgment.  Sometimes we think that Christianity is only peaceful – only gentle.  Yet God often reminds us of His terrible judgment.  The problem with us is when we take it into our own hands or use it for our selfish ends.  But meeting out justice, wielding the sword, is the privilege of God’s people.

“May the praise of God be in their mouths
       and a double-edged sword in their hands.”  v. 6

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, June 6, 2020
Psalm 148

For the past two weeks we’ve all been watching and hearing about the events in the Twin Cities.  The shock of the initial video footage showing the police and George Floyd has been replaced by the shock of the riots.  We probably all wrestle with trying to understand the reasons behind it all.  We probably all wrestle with trying to know how to respond.

As pastors, Mark and Justin and I don’t have all the answers.  We have discussed this at length.  We feel much of the same shock and anger and confusion as others.  Yet we also increasingly feel confidence in the Lord.  His comfort helps us, His power leads us, His words counsel us.

In the days to come, we hope to begin sharing our discussions and thoughts.

PSALM 148

I look forward to the day when, as I stand with you all praising God, I can hear the angels praising Him too.  I can’t imagine the joy and wonder of the stars and mountains joining with us as we sing praise to our loving Creator.

“Praise him, all his angels,
       praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
   Praise him, sun and moon,
        praise him, all you shining stars.”  vs.  2-3

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, June 5, 2020
Psalm 147

I apologize for the past few days.  Seems like something different happened each day that kept me from getting a Daily out.  I’m sorry.  Much of it was my own fault.

THIS SUNDAY:  We will again be meeting at church for Sunday Service at 10AM.  We’ve rearranged the chairs to create space for more households.   As more families come back to service, we are exploring options to create more space.  We’ll keep everyone posted as we go.

I had mentioned last week that the nursery rooms would be available for parents to be in with their kids, BUT I MISSPOKE.  We won’t be ready for that for a while.

PSALM 147

This is another song we used to sing at Cedarcreek.  The first stanza has always stirred my soul, and I can’t necessarily explain why.  I’ll let you read it (and the rest of the Psalm).  Let God stir you.

“He heals the brokenhearted
      and binds up their wounds
   He counts the stars
        and gives names to them all.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
         His understanding has no limit.”  vs. 3-5

Rob

 

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Psalm 146

Back from North Dakota.  It was good to see my daughter.  It’s odd to have my kids live somewhere else.  I have to get used to that. . .

We had our first live church service last Sunday.  It went well!  We are talking about what to do the same, what to do differently, what to add, etc.  If you have thoughts, please let Justin, Mark or me know!

PSALM 146

In this Psalm God tells of His great power – a power that is far, far beyond the power of any man or government.

“Do not put your trust in princes,
     in mortal men, who cannot save.
  When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
       on that very day their plans come to nothing. 

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
     whose hope is in the Lord his God,
        the maker of heaven and earth,
   the sea, and everything in them –
         the Lord, who remains faithful forever.”  vs. 3-6

But it’s interesting to see where God directs that power:  In this Psalm, it is mostly directed toward those who have no power – the weak, the foreigner, the widow and orphan.  Given the recent events in Minneapolis, this Psalm seems particularly powerful to me.

“He upholds the cause of the oppressed
        and gives food to the hungry.”  v. 7

 

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Psalm 144

Good morning folks.  I know I said I’d be done with Dailys for the week, but I’ve got time this AM and I really like today’s Psalm.

I’ll be off with the men of my small group for the next few days.  I’m excited to spend some time with them.  God’s church is a great thing.  I’ve developed many of my best friends right here at Cedarcreek.

PSALM 144

In this Psalm is a prayer that I have prayed for Cedarcreek for years.  First the prayer:

“May our sons in their youth
    be like well-nurtured plants,
  and our daughters like pillars
       carved to adorn a palace.
   Our barns will be filled
         with every kind of provision.”  vs. 12-13

I pray often that God will use us at Cedarcreek to win and build souls – that we will be a place where He can transform lives.  This prayer at the end of Psalm 144 catches that for me.  Our sons and daughters, both physical and spiritual, will be healthy and growing.  Our family will be full and growing.

But this Psalm also shows the blueprint for making it happen.  First, there is stuff God asks of us:

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
      who trains my hands for war,
           and my fingers for battle.”  v. 1

God asks us to work – to go to battle with him for those souls.  But once we do, there are things only God can do:

“Part your heavens, O Lord, and come down;
        touch the mountains so that they smoke.
    Send forth lightning and scatter the enemies.”  vs. . 5-6

I think if we choose to work and fight with God, He will do great things with and through us.

 

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, May 25, 2020
Psalm 143

Becca got married yesterday.  It was a sweet day.  But for this dad it was and is very emotional.  Good emotions.

I’ll be gone after today.  I will be in North Dakota until Friday night.  I won’t be around a computer or the internet, so I won’t be able to send emails.

When I get back, we’ll be one day away from our first service at church since early March.  I will continue these daily emails, probably through the summer.

PSALM 143

As I read this Psalm today, I noticed a verse that I never really noticed before:

  “Teach me to do your will,
        for you are my God.”  v. 10

I want to do God’s will.  I very much want that.  But often I  don’t or can’t.  But God is MY God; He wants me to do His will even more than me.  And He will help.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Psalm 141

WE’LL REOPEN CEDARCREEK FOR LIVE CHURCH SERVICES ON SUNDAY, MAY 31.

That’s not this week, but next.  We’ve worked hard to come up with a plan to re-open that is both safe and welcoming.  That’s hard to do, and we certainly won’t do it perfectly.  We know some folks are anxious TO get back together, some folks are anxious ABOUT getting back together, some folks are in between.  We recognize that everyone must make their own decisions, and we respect those decisions – we truly do.  We pray that we will all honor and respect each other’s preferences in this unprecedented time.

Attached is a document spelling out what to expect if you come on May 31.  Also, here’s a link to a short video Justin and I did, walking you through the building to help everyone know what will be different when we get back together for the first time.

https://youtu.be/DFQKDyC4xxc

PSALM 141

In this Psalm David chastises the wicked.  He calls on God to judge and punish those who do evil.

Yes his heart is not proud.  He recognizes his own sin and doesn’t ignore his own struggles.

In one place he asks God to protect him from those sins:

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
         keep watch over the door of my lips.
     Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil.” vs. 3-4

A bit later he asks God for the humility to be corrected by others – other men and women who are also flawed like him:

“Let a righteous man strike me – it is a kindness;
      let him rebuke me – it is oil on my head.
       My head will not refuse it.”  v. 5

 

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, May 22, 2020
Psalm 140

Two days until Becca (my oldest) gets married!  Kind of hectic, kind of fun.  It feels like Christmas – lots to do, but all of it against the backdrop of excitement and gladness.  God is really good!

PSALM 140

David was a king and a warrior.  He fought and won battles.  He ruled nations.

Yet he got afraid.  Just like us.  When he felt that fear, he didn’t trust his own strength.  He called out to God.

This Psalm is David crying out to God in his fear.  He finds comfort in God’s goodness; God’s strength.  We can too.

  “Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
       protect me from men of violence
     who plan to trip my feet.”  v. 4

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, May 21 2020
Psalm 139

This morning I walked outside very early.  The day had the feel of early summer.  It took me back to being a boy at the beginning of summer vacation.  What a sweet feeling!  All my cares and struggles behind me, and only a sweet summer of fun and joy stretching endlessly ahead!  Remember those feelings?

I went back inside and sat down to have my quiet time.  As God and I spent some time together, He reminded me that I have that feeling to look forward to again.  Someday I’ll leave this world and step into heaven.  All of my cares and struggles will be behind me.  Sweet, beautiful eternity will stretch out before me, filled with joy and fun.  The Lord Himself will be there – something better than any summer vacation ever.

PSALM 139

This is such a personal, intimate Psalm.  God’s closeness and intimacy with us rings out through it all.  God sees and holds our past, our present and our future.  So many sweet promises and truths.  I think verse 3 catches and summarizes the Psalm:

  “You discern my going out and my lying down;
          You are familiar with all my ways.”

As you read this Psalm, maybe ask God to draw out one verse that you can carry with you.  When God does that for me, I will actually physically carry the verse with me on a note card.  Here’s one that I have clung to for years:

“How precious concerning me are your thought, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!
   Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
           When I awake, I am still with you.”  vs. 17-18

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, May 20 2020
Psalm 138

The birds sing every morning as the sun comes up, then again every evening as the sun goes down.  I don’t know why God made them that way.  But it reminds me of David, who said that he would awaken the dawn with his praise to God.  I think the birds are praising their maker, just like David.

PSALM 138

One of my favorite Psalms, mostly because of two promises that I cling to.

The first is a promise for when I am afraid or hesitant to do what God is asking me to do.  David faced much opposition, and he got afraid.  I remember this promise when I’m in that place.

  “When I called, you answered me;
        you made me bold and stouthearted.”  v. 3
(the actual translation is ‘You made me arrogant in my soul with strength!’)

The second promise is more long term.  It gives me confidence that as I follow the Lord, He will take care of the results.  I don’t have to fret the outcome of my life; I just need to follow Him right now.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
       Your love, O Lord, endures forever –
     do not abandon the works of your hands.”  v. 8

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Psalm 137

We’ve been working for some time to create a timetable and procedures for re-opening Cedarcreek.  We have talked with many people, gotten lots of counsel, and sought out a lot of information.

At this point, our plan is to re-open Cedarcreek for live Sunday services, in a limited form, on Sunday, May 31.

This obviously raises many questions.  By the end of this week we will have finalized a timetable and distributed detailed information about what the initial re-opening will look like.

These are unprecedented times.  We are all trying to sort this out together in real time.  It’s not likely that any re-opening plan will exactly fit with anyone’s thoughts or desires.  I’ll include an excerpt from our soon to be distributed Sunday morning re-opening document:

“We recognize that there are a myriad of perspectives on how to best accomplish this goal and understand that we all have individual responsibility in determining how to best reintegrate ourselves.  As a staff we encourage everyone to extend grace to each other and love our neighbors even when ideas and viewpoints do not match our own.”

PSALM 137

This is a confusing and disturbing Psalm  It was written by exiles in Babylon – Jews torn from their home and forced to live in a pagan world as captives.  They rightly longed for home, and rightly resented their captors.

But the vitriol and anger is disturbing.   I won’t try to say whether this is righteous or not.

But it does remind me of this:  God’s anger and retribution IS righteous.  When I think of my sin, this Psalm reminds me of what I justly deserve.  But then I am sweetly, powerfully reminded that Christ took that terrible judgment so I wouldn’t have to.

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, May 16, 2020
Psalm 135

This morning Sue read to me the end of Psalm 9, which says:

    “Strike them with terror, O Lord; let the nations know they are but men.”  v. 20

The current medical crisis can be fearful, even terrifying.  But fear isn’t always bad.  God will use it to show Himself to us: His glory, His truth.  When we are afraid we are more willing to call out to a God who controls the universe.  When we are weak we are more willing to call out to a God who is strong.  When we are confused we are more willing to call out to a God who knows all.  And when we call out to Him, He answers and we see and hear him.

PSALM 135

We see God’s control over the physical world in this Psalm.

“The Lord does whatever pleases Him
      in the heavens and earth,
         in the seas and all their depths.”  v. 6 

We also see God’s control over governments and rulers.

 “He struck down many nations
        and killed mighty kings.” v. 10 

And we see why; the purpose and goal of His control.

   “For the Lord will vindicate his people
      and have compassion on his servants.” v. 14

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, May 15, 2020
Psalm 134

I admit to getting increasingly frustrated with the back and forth of all the Covid regulations.  It seems that rules change daily and from place to place.  It all has a tendency to make me angry and tense.

But when I stop and pray, it truly changes my mood.  God reminds me that he rules nations, not the other way around.  I may disagree or agree with the Governor, Supreme Court, legislature, County Health Director, whatever.  But none of them can overcome God’s love for me, His plan for my life, His goodness.

PSALM 134

Another very short Psalm. It talks to those who minister by night in the house of the Lord.

I get the picture of someone serving in the Temple when no one else is around – only him and God.  That image makes me smile.  When no one else is watching, you can draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Here’s the whole Psalm in New King James:

“Behold, bless the Lord,
All you servants of the Lord,
Who by night stand in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hand in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord!
The Lord who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion!”

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Psalm 133

Given the Supreme Court decision that was announced yesterday, we want to let everyone know where we’re at with re-opening the church.

We’ve been working on a re-opening plan for a while.  We are waiting to finalize a plan until Eau Claire County lets us know what local restrictions might be in place.

WE WON’T HAVE SERVICE THIS SUNDAY, MAY 17.  We just don’t have the time to communicate and coordinate all of the volunteers to have a good, safe service before this weekend.   Plus, we don’t know what might happen legally between now and then.  We are working on a clear timeline and plan for re-opening.  We’ve been talking with several of you about it.  We’ll hopefully be able to let everyone know the plan very soon.

In the meantime, we’ll keep things as they have been for this weekend.

PSALM 133

This Psalm has imagery that is unfamiliar to us.  Oil pour on Aaron’s head and dripping down; dew of Hermon falling on Mt. Zion.

Both of these things speak to God interacting with His people.  The anointing oil was part of the Levitical priesthood (See Exodus 29 and 40).  Mt. Zion was the resting place of God’s glory – the Temple in Jerusalem.

They are likened to us living in unity with each other.  What I take from it is that, just like the temple or the priest in all of his glorious attire, our unity and love for each other is a picture of God’s goodness to us, and an honor to Him

“How good and pleasant it is
       when brothers live together in unity!”  v. 1

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Psalm 132

We’ve been working for a while on a revamp of our Core Values at church.  We’ve worked with the Advisory Council to finish it up.  You can see the edited Core Values here:

https://www.ccreek.org/about/core-values/

This is more of a reorganizing and clarifying than a change to our Core Values.  Take a look.

I’ll put some copies on the white board at church.

PSALM 132

I like this Psalm because it shows a couple of things that are true of David that I want to be true of me too..

First, his passion for God and God’s glory and God’s work on earth are on display.

“I will not enter my house
    or go to my bed –
     I will allow no sleep to my eyes,
  no slumber to my eyelids
      till I find a place for the Lord,
   a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”  vs. 3-5

Second, he remembers and banks on God’s promises to him.  They give him comfort and courage.

“The Lord swore an oath to David,
      a sure oath that he will not revoke:
    ‘One of your own descendants
           I will place on your throne.’”  v. 11

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Psalm 131

We’re beginning to plan for the eventual reopening of the Church.  Obviously there are still a lot of unknowns, but we are working on preliminary plans for how we will all get back together again.  I meet (via Zoom) weekly with other pastors in the Chippewa Valley, and this is a conversation we have regularly.  Each church will do things a bit differently, I’m sure.  We’re looking to God to give us a good plan for Cedarcreek.  If you have thoughts, don’t hesitate to let Mark, Justin or me know.

PSALM 131

This is a Psalm I come back to often.  I tend to overestimate my own abilities and my own importance.  This is  Psalm I memorized and repeat to myself a lot.

God has given all of us a place; a job to do; a field to tend.  It’s different for all of us.  How we go about it is different.  I ask God a lot to show me my place and to help me focus on it.  I ask for help to remember that the place He has given me is enough – I don’t need to clamor for more.  I ask for help to honor Him as I tend my field.

  “But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
      like a weaned child with its mother,
   like a weaned child is my soul within me.”  v. 2

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, May 11, 2020
Psalm 130

Happy Mothers Day!  (yesterday!)  Sue got to see all of our kids.  Becca and Katie were both in town for wedding preparation.  And Sam is out of basic training, shipped off to AIT, and has his phone.  So we all got to see each other and talk.  It was great!

PSALM 130

This Psalm presents one of the great mysteries of Christianity:  How can God be completely loving and completely fearful at the same time?  How can he be filled with grace and forgiveness at the same time He is filled with wrath and judgment?

We don’t have the time or space in this email to dive into that.  But I’d encourage you to think about two things in this Psalm

One, ponder the fact that God’s forgiveness makes him worthy of our fear.

  “But with you there is forgiveness;
            therefore you are feared.”  v. 4 

Then, remember that as you and God find the truth of that, the next thing that happens is that you are drawn closer to Him.  You long more deeply for Him.

“I wait for the Lord,
        my soul waits,
    and in His word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
       more than watchmen wait for the morning,
   more than watchmen wait for the morning.”  vs. 5-6

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, May 8, 2020
Psalm 129

In yesterday’s email I said it was April twice.  I’ve struggled knowing what day it is lately.  I guess I’m struggling with the months too.

PSALM 129

Another short ‘song of ascents’.  They would sing these songs on the way to the Temple.

This Psalm reminds us that no matter what our past is, God’s good will come.  No one can take God away from me, or take me away from God.  No one.  God is too strong for that.  And if I cling to God, I will see and feel His power and goodness in this life.  No one can stop that.

It reminds me that being close to God and experiencing Him is a function of what I’m doing now, now what someone else did before.

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth –
     let Israel say –
        They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
   but they have not gained the victory over me.
         Plowmen have plowed my back
     and made their furrows long.
            But the Lord is righteous;
      He has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”  vs. 1-4

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 7, 2020
Psalm 127-128

Don’t forget to pick up flowers for Mom at church this Sunday!  We’ll have daisies for all of the church moms.  You can come pick yours up in the parking lot from 10AM to 1PM this Sunday, April 10 (Mothers Day!)

We WON’T have virtual communion this week so folks can do this instead.

PSALM 127-128

We would read these two Psalms during pre-marriage counseling with young couples about to be married.  We’d ask them to list all of the things God says about children.  You should do that too – list out the words that God uses as he talks about kids.

We have lots of little ones at Cedarcreek.  That’s a wonderful thing!  They certainly cause more commotion and require more effort from the adults, but they are a blessing from God.

 “Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
     children a reward from Him.”  127:3

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 5, 2020
Psalm 126

Looking forward to seeing you all again.  I miss the interactions that we can’t have given the current state of things.  But it will come.

PSALM 126

I don’t know for sure, but this Psalm seems like it might have been written after the nation of Israel returned to the promised land after 70 years of captivity in Babylon.  You can read the story at the end of 2 Samuel, and in Ezra and Nehemiah.

It is an amazing story.  Israel had turned away from God for generations, and though God had warned them again and again, they stubbornly refused to repent.  So God did what He had told Moses He would do if Israel turned away.  He sent a foreign nation to overpower and enslave them, just like Egypt had done generations earlier.

But also as He said He would do, God remembered Israel and returned them to their homeland after His discipline had ended.

I can imagine the writer of this Psalm, who had perhaps seen Jerusalem as a boy, or perhaps had never seen it, being filled with joy as he now is returned to the land he has dreamed of for years.

No amount of time it too long to wait for God to fulfill His promises.

“The Lord has done great things for us,
      and we are filled with joy!”  v. 3

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, May 4, 2020
Psalm 124 and 125

Sue and I have been doing a sabbath for the past several months.  It’s on a Monday.  It’s a full day of rest, contemplation, stop and delight.  Rest = let your body and mind move slowly or not at all.  Contemplate = spend time reading/praying/walking/musing/talking with the Lord.  Stop = don’t do the things you normally do; don’t make it a day of chores.  Delight = do things you love to do.  I think the sabbath is a gift to us from the Lord.  It was a command to the Israelites, but to us it is an invitation to bask in God’s love and glory.

PSALM 124-125

Two Psalms that speak to God’s sovereignty (our Sunday morning topic for the next couple of weeks.)

Specifically, both Psalms remind us that no person is powerful enough to thwart or change God’s plans for us.

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
    when men rose up against us,
  then they would have swallowed us up alive.”  Psalm 214:2-3

“Those who trust in the Lord
      are like Mount Zion,
   which cannot be moved
         but abides for ever.”  Psalm 125:1

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Psalm 123

I mowed the grass for the first time yesterday.  The seasons roll on under the control and hand of our great King.  Nothing can stop His plans.

PSALM 123

This little Psalm fits well with the message for this week.  We’re talking about God’s sovereignty.  This Psalm speaks to that.

God sits on His throne in heaven, and the ruler to whom we look for everything good.  God doesn’t owe us mercy.  He chooses to give it because of His love.  Therefore we can’t demand God’s mercy.  Rather, we look to Him and wait humbly and hopefully.

“I lift up my eyes to you,
     to you whose throne is in heaven.
  As the eyes of slaves took to the hand of their master,
     as the eyes of a maid look to the heand of her mistress,
  so our eyes look to the Lord our God
         until He shows us his mercy.”  vs. 1-2

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Psalm 121

Last day of April.  The sun is out and the world is getting green.  If you’re in to this kind of thing, spend the next couple of weeks looking at all the different shades of green in the world.  God is an amazing artist.

PSALM 121

This is a powerfully comforting Psalm.  I think it ranks with Psalm 23.

It starts with a cry for help.  Twice in the first two verses we see that word.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. 
       From whence does my help come?
   My help comes from the Lord,
           who made heaven and earth.”  vs. 1-2  RSV

The rest of the Psalm is God’s response to that cry.  In the Revised Standard Version, six times it says that God will ‘keep’ us.  That same word is translated ‘watch’ in the NIV.

I love both words.

-God is strong – He will keep me.  I am safe in His arms.

-God is close – He will watch me.  He never looks away or loses interest in me.

 “The Lord will keep you from all harm –
      He will watch over your life.”  v. 7  NIV

 

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Psalm 120

I ‘meet’ via Zoom with half a dozen other local pastors every Wednesday.  It’s really a highlight of the week.  I love those men.  It’s good to hear their heart and their ideas.  It’s good to unite in this town for the Lord.

PSALM 120

I have to admit, I really don’t know what to make of this Psalm.  Clearly the person who wrote it is distressed by the people around him.  They are liars and they hate peace.  Maybe this is an example of someone merely pouring out his heart to the Lord, without any effort to make sense of it.  Purely baring his soul before his God.

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Psalm 118

I see my days and dates have been off for a little while 😉  I don’t know about you folks, but I can never tell what day it is anymore.  Routines are all out of whack and I’m never sure where in the week we are!

PSALM 118

This Psalm is interesting in that it repeats phrases all through it.  For example, verse 1 says:

 “Give thanks to the Lord,
     for He is good;
        His love endures forever” 

The phrase ‘His love endures forever’ is repeated three times in the next three verses.

The same things happens  in vs. 8-9, where the phrase ‘It is better to take refuge in the Lord’ appears twice.

 “It is better to take refuge in the Lord
     than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
      than to trust sin princes.”

As you read this Psalm, look for the repeated phrases.  Pick out the one that strikes you the most.  Then read everything around that phrase.  What does God say to you?

If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day, do that with each repeated phrase.  It won’t take all that long.

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, April 26, 2020
Psalm 116

Normally I take Saturday’s off, but I like this Psalm a lot.

PSALM 116

This Psalm has many statements that I have clung to over the years.  Here are a few of them:

“Be at rest once more, O my soul,
      for the Lord has been good to you.”  v. 7

-I mentioned yesterday was a hard day.  In some of my hardest days this has been a prayer I would say again and again.  God has been good to me!  My soul can rest.

“I believed; there I said,
     I am greatly afflicted.”  v. 10

-This reminds me that being a Christian isn’t the path to trouble free living.  It’s the path to eternal joy and satisfying, God honoring labor.  But it can be hard.

“I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.”  v. 14

-Whatever work God has for me will be done in the context of His people, the church.

“I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call upon the name of the Lord.”  v. 17

-Thanking God is so sweet and powerful.  I’ll do it today.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 25, 2020
Psalm 117

Many of you have perhaps heard me mention that I struggle with depression.  God has walked me out of the worst of it over the years, but it’s still there.  Every once in a while I have a really bad day.  Today was one of those days.

PSALM 117

Today should be Psalm 115.  But I don’t have it in me to write all the thoughts I have on that Psalm.  Maybe another day.  Today, I’ll just type out Psalm 117, the shortest Psalm.

“Praise the Lord, all you nations;
     extol him, all you peoples.
       For great is his love toward us,
   and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
            Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 117

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Psalm 114

We’ll have a Zoom Communion again this Sunday.

PSALM 114

I talk a lot about seeing God in the physical world around us.  We can see His hand, recognize His character, hear His voice in the world He made.  We can also see His power demonstrated in His complete control over it.  This Psalm speaks to that.

“Tremble, o earth, a the presence of the Lord.
       at the presence of the God of Jacob.
   who turned the rock into a pool,
            the hard rock into springs of water.”  vs. 7-8

But this Psalm also reminds us that the physical earth isn’t what God loves.  He wants a relationship with us.  The earth will burn someday, but God will take us home to be with Him forever.

“Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel his dominion.”   v. 2

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Psalm 113

You can check out the third (and possibly last) Covid Conversation here:  https://www.ccreek.org/sermons/covid-conversations-3/

PSALM 113

This Psalm does three things in order.

First, it tells us to praise the Lord!  Five times in the first three verses that phrase or some form of it calls us to worship and honor our great Lord.

“Praise the Lord.
     Praise, O servants of the Lord,
           Praise the name of the Lord.”  v.1

Next, it tells us why.  God made and rules over all of creation.  He is above and better than anything we will ever see or could ever imagine.

 “The Lord is exalted over all the nations.
        His glory above the heavens.”  v. 4

Finally, we’re told an unbelievable thing.  This awesome God, who created and rules over the farthest bit of the universe, who governs nations throughout time, this powerful King, sees and cares for you.  No man made religion creates a mighty God who is loving and humble.  The real God, the one we serve, is better than anything we can create.

 “who stoops down to look
      on the heavens and the earth?
  He raises the poor from the dust
         and lifts the needy from the ash heap;”  vs. 6-7

Rob

 

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Psalm 111 & 112

Yesterday my email wouldn’t work.  I think the internet is getting a workout these days.  So today I’ll do Psalm 111 and 112

PSALM 111

“Great are the works of the Lord;
       they are pondered by all who delight in them.”  v. 2

There’s a lot in that little verse.  It all comes alive to me when I go outside and watch the spring unfold.  I watched two robins do their mating dance in my front yard.  Those beautiful, intricate birds were created by God.  They will build a nest and lay eggs and have babies.  It happens every spring, but it’s no less great and delightful and amazing to ponder.  You and I are surrounded by God’s great works that will delight your heart and stir your mind.  Don’t miss them.

PSALM 112

This Psalm is filled with promises for the man who fears the Lord.  The promises are wonderful, speaking to life right now and for generations to come.  I believe them.  We can sometimes question whether promises like this can be true since we all have struggle and hardship.  But these wonderful promises live alongside the difficult things in our life.  They are there for those who fear the Lord.

This Psalm also helps us know what ‘fear the Lord’ means.  Look at some of the characteristics of such a  person:

-finds great delight in his commands;
-gracious and compassionate;
-conducts his affairs with justice;
-trusting in the Lord;
-gives gifts to the poor;

It’s a lot about how we live.  Fearing the Lord is most evident in our conduct.

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
      who finds great delight in his commands.

His children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.”  vs. 1-2

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Psalm 109

A beautiful day in Wisconsin!  I went fishing today.  I sat on the bank in the sun, smoked my pipe and watched the water flow south.  Solomon says that all rivers flow into the sea, but the sea never gets full.  It was fun to ponder that this afternoon.

PSALM 109

David often pours out his anger on ungodly men in the Psalms.  This is one such Psalm.  He calls on God judge and severely punish his enemies.  David’s anger is evident, and his calls for punishment can seem cruel.  It’s easy to think one of two things:  One, that David is right and that we are justified in longing for and taking revenge on our enemies; or Two, that David is totally wrong and shouldn’t even have these feelings.

Here is how I think of it.  You can go to God and wrestle with this Psalm.

First, God will bring a terrible punishment on those who don’t accept Christ.  Hell will be worse than anything David or I can conjure up.  God’s judgment will be righteous – there will be no evil in it, no matter how terrible it seems.  But, David rightly calls on God to take vengeance.  As King, David could have done some, or maybe all, of these things himself.  But he didn’t.  He left that to God.

God is a good judge.  We aren’t.  We can look forward to God’s righteous judgment, but we need to leave it there and not take it into our own hands.

“But thou, O God my Lord,
      deal on my behalf for thy name’s sake;
    because thy steadfast love is good, deliver me!”  v. 21

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 17, 2020
Psalm 108

The snow is melting again.  Get outside.  Walk around the block.  Go for a bike ride.  I really thing the sun and trees and movement are necessary for our physical, emotional and spiritual health.  We’ve all been inside more than normal because of the weather and restrictions.  I suspect that a long, brisk walk will make the world a better place for most of us.

PSALM 108

All of the Psalms were meant to be sung.  Over the years, many of these Psalms have been put to music.  God has given music some amazing powers.  It sinks deeply into us in ways other things don’t.  It can open up our understanding and emotions in deeper ways.

Psalm 108 is a song that we sang at Cedarcreek not long ago.  Here is MercyMe singing it in the version we sang.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvX9HbXHmgQ

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Psalm 107

Hope you are all well.  Justin, Mark and I have been comparing notes as we talk to as many of you as we can.  It’s good hear how people are doing.  Please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email.  I’d love to chat.

PSALM 107

This Psalm has become one of my favorites – one that I go back to again and again.  It’s a description of God’s care for us in different situations and life stages.  The Psalm is divided into several sections.  Each section describes people in a different set of circumstances.  It then describes God’s love and care for those people.  I’ve gone here when I’m at different places in my life.  This Psalm speaks to me in different ways depending on what’s going on around me.

As you read it, look for yourself, your life stage, in the descriptions.  See the promises God makes to you in that place.

Come back to this Psalm as life changes.  It speaks in different ways each time.

“Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
      and consider the great love of the Lord.”  v. 43

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Psalm 106

Justin and I did another ‘Covid Conversation’  We’ve linked it here for you to listen to.  https://www.ccreek.org/sermons/covid-conversations-2/

Just a quick disclaimer on this one:  We’re still learning how to do this kind of thing well.  As I said last time, we’re really just practicing, but the content of these seem pertinent and timely, so we’re putting them out there.

This one, to me, seems pretty long winded and rambling.  But we get to some really good points, I think.

So listen at your own risk 😉

PSALM 106

Third Psalm in a row where God points to Himself.  This time it’s His righteous judgment.  All three of these Psalms, if we listen to them, point us toward God’s holiness.  A big part of that is here is Psalm 106.  God reminds the nation of Israel (and us) of their sins.  He points to His judgments and disciplines of those sins.  We love God’s mercy and His forgiveness, and rightly so.  We celebrate Christ’s payment for our sins, as we should.  But we mustn’t forget our desperate need for that forgiveness.  Only when we remember that God can justly and righteously condemn us because of our sins do we really understand and value forgiveness.

“Therefore the Lord was angry with his people
      and abhorred His inheritance.
         He handed them over to the nations,
  and their foes ruled over them.          

          Their enemies oppressed them
   and subjected them to their power.

Many times He delivered them,
    but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sins.”  vs.  40-43

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Psalm 105

Another snowy day.  I’m longing for warm weather and sun.  I suppose we’re all longing for something different these days.  I think I’ll go for a long walk talk to God.

PSALM 105

Yesterday we saw that when God wants to give us a quick, direct reminder of who He is, He points to nature.  Another thing He does is remind us of the promises He made to us in the past.  That’s what happens today in Psalm 105 (and tomorrow as well).  As I read this Psalm, I thought about promises God has made to me.  I went back and re-read passages that I feel God has spoken to me over the years.  It’s a good place to be, firmly in His plans.

“Remember the wonders He has done,
      His miracles, and the judgements He pronounced.”  v. 5

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, April 13, 2020
Psalm 104

It was good to see so many of you yesterday on the Zoom Communion time!

After Easter, I like to read the end of John.  Specifically I love the story of Peter and some of the other disciples going fishing.  Jesus meets them on the shore.  There’s so much about that story that is sweet to me.  After all of the trauma and emotional ups and downs of Holy Week, this seems like a comfortable, familiar, intimate time.  Jesus makes them breakfast after they do something that they know well (fishing).  He speaks personally and confidentially to them.  It makes me long to see Jesus after I leave the trauma and turmoil of this world.

PSALM 104

Very often when God wants to give us a quick, direct reminder of who He is, He points to nature.  That’s what happens in this Psalm.  He reminds us that the physical world we live in and see every day is a picture of His holiness and power.  He doesn’t do it for His own sake, but for ours.  We need to be reminded, and we have in front of us all the time a clear picture of God’s creative genius, His loving provision, His unmatched understanding and His magnificent power.  That’s why, I think, the devil works very hard to subtly and not so subtly convince us that the world wasn’t created by God at all.  If we don’t believe that all we see is the result of God’s hand, we will miss seeing much of the everyday reminder we need of who He is.  God knows what we need.  He’s given it to us.  Don’t mistake it for something else.

“O Lord, how manifold are they works!
       In wisdom hast thou made them all;
    the earth is full of thy creatures.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever
   may the Lord rejoice in his works.”  vs. 24,31  RSV

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 10, 2020
Psalm 101

I just sent out a separate email with info and instructions for the congregational communion that we’ll have on Easter Sunday via Zoom.  Looking forward to seeing as many of you as can make it!  Our Life Group has been meeting via Zoom, and even though I can’t wait to get together in person, seeing each other on the computer is a nice second best!

PSALM 101

This Psalm is attributed to David.  He talks here about with whom he associates.  David loves God’s people and distances himself from the ungodly.

He does it as a king:

 “he whose walk is blameless will mister to me!”  v. 6
“Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land;”  v. 8

He also does it as an individual:

”My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me;”  v. 6
“No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house.”  v. 7

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Psalm 100

Just a reminder that on Easter Sunday we will have a chance to gather via Zoom as a church family to break bread together.  We’ll send out a link in the next day or two.  Make plans to join everyone.

PSALM 100

Very sweet Psalm.  Our part is joy and worship and gladness and thanksgiving.  God’s part of goodness and love and faithfulness.  My favorite line (from the NIV) is:

“It is he who made us, and we are his!”  v. 3

 Rob

 


Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 6

Good Morning Folks,

It’s the last 10 Minute Devotional on the book of Daniel!  I plan to do another series of these soon and if you have thoughts on what you liked or things I could improve please let me know!

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The seventh ‘10 Minute Devotional’ on the book of Daniel is available [here].

Thanks!

Justin

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Psalm 99

I miss all of you folks.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.  We can keep the ‘business’ of the church running via the internet and zoom.  But it’s harder to keep the relationships strong and vibrant and growing without seeing each other.

This is a time to pray.  I’m praying for a few specific things:

One, that we would grow in our relationship with God.  I think a time like this is a wide open, unparalleled opportunity for that.  Whenever you feel the strangeness or tension or whatever, go talk to God about it.  Ask Him to show you something in the Word.  Lean in to Him.

Two, that we will work hard to keep in touch with each other, to love and care for each other as much and as well as we can.  It’s not the same and I don’t think it’s at all what we want long term, but for now I pray that we’ll reach out to each other and stay as connected as we can.

Three, that we would take the risk to talk to someone who doesn’t know God.  Many people are more open to hearing about God now.  Let’s plant seeds and see if this storm causes them to grow.

PSALM 99

Three times in this Psalm it says some variation of ‘God is holy.’  God is lots of things:  loving, righteous, wise, compassionate, powerful, etc.  But here it focuses on ‘Holy’.   Think about what that means.  Think about how to respond to a holy God.

“Exalt the Lord our God

    and worship at his holy mountain,

     for the Lord our God is Holy.”  v. 9

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Psalm 98

We’ve been experimenting with podcasts for a while.  One of our experiments was Justin and me having a conversation about the current Covid-19 responses.  Not the actual health crisis as much as the ‘shelter at home’ responses.  The initial thought was that we would just do it, share it with a couple folks, learn from it, and keep experimenting.  After we listened to it, though, we thought it might be interesting or helpful for others to hear.

Here’s the link.  As you listen, remember that we aren’t trying to answer every question.  Rather, we are having a candid conversation about our thoughts and questions.  We might do another of these ‘Covid Conversations’ in the near future.

PSALM 98

This is another Psalm that we used to sing a lot at Cedarcreek.  It was one of my favorites!  Ask me someday and I’ll sing it for you 😉

When I read it today I was struck with a couple of things, both from the last stanza.

 “Let the sea roar, all that fills it;

     the world and those who dwell in it!

       Let the floods clap their hands;

   let the hills sing for joy together before the Lord

        For He comes to judge the earth

    He will judge the world with righteousness,

         and the peoples with equity.”  vs. 7-9

When Christ returns, the entire creation will rise up to greet Him.  The sea and the hills will sing for joy at the presence of their creator.  Even the ground and the water is blessed by God’s presence!

But according to this Psalm, one of the things that will make the sea and the hills rejoice is that Christ is coming to judge.  We probably don’t think of judgment as a joyful thing.  But when the perfect Judge returns, justice and love will meet and we will join the sea in shouting our thanks and praise!

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, April 6, 2020
Psalm 97

In this time of uncertainty, I think we have a great opportunity to be witnesses for Christ.  People are often afraid or confused these days.  In that place, they are often more willing to look to God.  You know God – introduce Him to people who are recognizing, maybe for the first time, that they really do need Him.

PSALM 97

We are in a group of Psalms that we used to sing at Cedarcreek.  The Psalms were originally set to music.  For much of the early years, we sang these Psalms on Sunday mornings.  Psalm 97 actually had two Cedarcreek songs come from it.

I’ll just comment on the first line:

“The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice;

       let the many coastlands be glad!”  v. 1

I read an article in the paper today about how the current Covid-19 restrictions will affect the economies of many poor African nations.  But God is God there as much as He is here.  He sees those people and loves them.  He is the strong King of the whole earth.  The NIV says, ‘Let the distant shores rejoice!’  Amen!

Rob

 

 


Monday, April 6th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 5

Good Morning Folks,

Yesterday my family and I sat in front of our computer and watched Mark’s message in the Holy Week series.  Changing our Sunday routine has been weird and we miss seeing all of you but it’s also given us more opportunities to do things as a family.  I hope and pray that you have started to settle into some new routines as we all work to figure out a different way of life.

This morning the a 10 Minute Devotional on Daniel Chapter 5 was posted on the church website.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The sixth ‘10 Minute Devotional’ on the book of Daniel is available [here].

Thanks!

Justin

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Psalm 95

If you can, set aside next Sunday morning to celebrate Easter with the church family.  Justin will finish the Holy Week series with a message on the crucifixion and resurrection.  We will have video of a small band doing worship music.  Afterward, we will all join together live via Zoom to take communion together.

PSALM 95

I wrote out the first seven verses.  This is the Revised Standard Version, which I am reading this year.

It’s a joyful, satisfying call to worship our great Creator and King.

“O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it;
for his hands formed the dry land.

O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.” vs. 1-7

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, April 3, 2020
Psalm 94

Cedarcreek Family

On Easter, we will all join together (online) to break bread as a church family.  We’ll send out a link to a Zoom meeting.  Anyone who wants to can join.  We’ll spend a little time hearing from families, then we’ll share communion together.  If you’re around and able, please plan to join your church family after the online service.  More info to come!

PSALM 94:

I suppose we all do this, but these days I filter things through the lens of Covid-19 and the effects of it that we are all living through.

I will admit that I have questions about the current medical/political/social responses.  I’ve been trying hard to make sense of all of this.  It’s left me uneasy.  I don’t claim to understand all of the information; nor do I claim to know exactly and perfectly what to do.  Part of what makes me uneasy is that other people seem to claim much more clarity and understanding than I think they should.

“The Lord knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.  Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord, the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.”  vs. 11-13

The reality is that no one knows exactly what’s going on or exactly what to do.  Only God does.  In fact, left to ourselves, our thoughts are futile.  Only by letting God discipline and teach us, can we escape the day of trouble.

I pray that we as God’s people and as a nation will look to God for answers, rather than first to our own understanding.

Rob

 

 


Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Daniel Chapter 4

Good Morning Folks,

Today is the first rainy day in quite a few.  As I’ve been working on my yard I’ve been seeing the snow melt and the lilies beginning to pop up from beneath the ground that was frozen not long ago.  It’s amazing how quickly our world can change!  Seasons change every year and it’s easy for me to miss the beauty in it when I’m wrapped up in what I’m doing.  This change of pace has been difficult but in many ways it can also be good.

This morning the next 10 Minute Devotional on Daniel Chapter 4 was posted on the church website.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The fifth ‘10 Minute Devotional’ on the book of Daniel is available [here].

Thanks!

Justin

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Psalm 93

I am feeling more drained as the restrictions go on.  I suppose all of us are.  I don’t like this much.  I don’t know quite what to do about it.  This afternoon I’m going to go fishing.  I’m going to enjoy the warm weather and God’s cool creation.  I’m also going to go on a walk and do some praying.  Being close to God gives me peace.

“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God”  Psalm 73:16-17

Tonight we have our first virtual Life Group.  Our group spends an hour chatting and snacking, then an hour studying Romans.  Gonna do that tonight, except that we’ll all have our own snack.

PSALM 93

A short Psalm.  The writer uses the earth to paint of picture of God’s kingdom.

“The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.’  v. 1; 

compared to:

“Your statues stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.”  v. 5

As lasting and as firm as the world seems, God and His words are more lasting and more firm.  As majestic and mighty as the sea and waves seem, God and His ways are more majestic and mighty.

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Psalm 92

Howdy Folks

I’ve been meeting via Zoom on Wednesdays with other Pastors in town.  We used to meet monthly in person, but lately we’ve been getting together weekly.  It’s sweet to talk to other men who love the Lord and are trying to shepherd churches.  This town has many great congregations, shepherded by many great guys.

Hopefully you are working hard at staying connected with the Cedarcreek family through this.  It’s harder, but we need each other.  Make an effort to touch base with your friends and Life Group members.  Use the phone or Skype or whatever, but make contact.  If you haven’t had close relationships with people in the church up to now, make the effort to begin building a couple.  We need each other – that’s how God made us.  We need the social contact; we need to spiritual charge that only comes from another believer; we need proximity.  Basically, we need friends.  Cultivate and lean in to your friends now.

PSALM 91:

This Psalm, like many, makes a distinction between God’s people and those who reject God.

“For surely your enemies, O Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.  You have exalted my horn (strength) like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me.”  vs. 9-10

We sometimes feel wrong in making a distinction between Christians and non-Christians.  It seems ‘us vs. them’.  But God definitely makes the distinction.  The trajectory of a Christian’s life is different than the trajectory of a non-Christian’s life.  God wants that for everyone, but people need to accept Christ to enter into the place where they can receive it.

Rob

 

 


10 Minute Devotional
Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Daniel Chapter 3-4:3

Good Morning Folks,

The last few days have just been beautiful.  It’s been the perfect time to get out and do some yard-work around here.  I’ve been cutting up a number of downed trees at my house and with the help of my kids we’ve hauled most of the brush into a pile and stacked up the logs.  I hope that you’ve been able to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather too!

This morning I posted the next 10 Minute Devotional on Daniel Chapter 3-4:3.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The recording on the book of Daniel is available [here].

Thanks!
Justin

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Psalm 91

Howdy Folks

Beginning Week 3 of the Covid-19 restrictions.  Lots to say about it, but right now I just miss you folks.  Can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces.  Those of us who like physical touch are struggling a bit with social distancing.  When I see you next, I might give you a big hug.  Feel free to shove me away 😉

PSALM 91:

I read much of this Psalm two weeks ago when Justin, Mark and I did the Sunday message together.  Rather than go over it again, I would encourage you just to read it.  As you do, talk to God about the current state of affairs in our world.  Tell Him what you feel about it.  Ask Him questions about how you should perceive all of this.

And above all, be thankful.  In the midst of all of our internal and external turmoil, God is good to you.

’Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him;  I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’”  vs.14-16

Do you believe that God is powerful enough to do this, or do events just happen and God is unable to do anything about it?  Do you believe God sees and loves and cares for you, or is He looking somewhere else?

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, March 30, 2020
Psalm 90

Hello Cedarcreek Family

PSALM 90:
The current situation can stir many different feelings in us.  Many of us likely feel frustrated or afraid.  This Psalm helped me ease both of those feelings.

I think we can get frustrated because we want to fix this – make it go away.  We at least want to understand it.  Both of those are really us wanting control.  We want to know what’s going on, we want to know what to do, and we want the chance to make it right.

But in this world, we are very limited.  All of us have been on the earth only a short time.  In that time, we are confused and hampered by our own sins.  The reality is that we control or understand very little.

“You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning – though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.”  vs. 5-6

“The length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have the strength;  yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”  v. 10

I think we can get afraid because we see that something bad could happen to us.  We might get sick.  Someone we love might get sick.  The thought of death is  terrifying.  We hope that we don’t deserve anything like that.  But in our most honest moments, we know that God owes us nothing.

“You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  All of our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.”  vs. 8-9

But though difficult times come, the eternal, powerful, wonderful God will watch over us.

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  vs. 1-2

“Relent, O Lord!  How long will it be?  Have compassion on your servants”  v. 13

When we give up the illusion of control and remember that God, who is in control, loves us, then we are living in wisdom, and so much better able to be content in the midst of these troubled times.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  v. 12

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”  v. 14

Rob

 

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Monday, March 30th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 2:31-49

Good Morning Folks,

Today it’s looking to be a warm and pretty sunny day.  My family and I are really looking forward to getting outside and going for a bike ride today.  I hope you’re able to make use of this beautiful weather!  Today we’re continuing Daniel Chapter 2 and finishing off the second half of the chapter.

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The third 10 Minute Devotional is available [here].

Have a good Monday!

Justin

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Psalm 88

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

In the first 57 years of my life, I think I’d been on less than 3 video conferences.  In the past 2 weeks I’ve been on a dozen.  Life takes strange turns 😉

The crocuses bloomed in my yard this week.  Two shades of purple.  The rhubarb is coming up, as well as the lilies and hosta.  The robins, red-wing blackbirds and marsh hawks are all back.  Spring is creeping in.

PSALM 88:

I think this is the darkest Psalm of them all.  Many Psalms have cries of anguish, expressions of deep sorrow, pleas for help in desperate times.  But every other Psalm also has statements of faith, expressions of hope, confident assertions of God’s goodness and salvation.  This one has only sorrow and anguish.  After a brief cry to God, it begins with, ‘For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave’ and ends with, ‘You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.’

Strangely I find great comfort in this Psalm.  In many of the hard times of life, we are able to see the good; we are able to find hope in God; we are able to find comfort.  But I think all of us will experience what San Juan de la Cruz called ‘the dark night of our soul’ – a time of sorrow that seems unending, unrelenting and unbearable.  I think this Psalm is the cry of our heart during the dark night of our soul.

What I find encouraging is that in the midst of it, we are still in God’s presence.  We can still call out to him.   Too often I have gone to God with my pain, but tried to mitigate it or solve my own problem.  My conversation with God can be about what I think I should be.  This writer had no ability or strength or desire to do that.  Instead his conversation with God was about what he was in that moment.

In the past few years I have experienced some of those dark nights of the soul.  I have learned that in my hardest, darkest most hopeless time, I can let God hear my heart; not as I think it should be, but as it is.  He hears, he weeps with me.   And even though I can’t see it at the time, He also prepares the dawn.

‘Weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.’  Psalm 30:5

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Saturday, March 28th, 2020
Daniel Chapter 2:1-30

Good Morning Folks,

It’s a wet, spring Saturday morning as I look out my dining room windows and watch the sunlight begin to peak through the tree line overlooking Otter Creek.  I’m enjoying this peaceful way to watch the world wake up.  This morning’s 10 Minute Devotional is on Daniel Chapter 2:1-30.  This chapter just had too much good stuff in it, so I broke it into two parts (the second part will be available on Monday).

These devotionals are available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and are roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

The second recording on the book of Daniel is available [here].

I hope and pray that you have a great Saturday.

Thanks!
Justin

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Friday, March 27, 2020
Psalm 87

Good Morning Cedarcreek,

This morning Mark and Justin and I will have our weekly Pastors Meeting.  Even though life is very different in some ways right now, in other ways nothing has changed.  We are planning for the future, knowing that we’ll get back to normal at some point.

In the meantime, the goal is to stay connected with each other.  That means finding ways to communicate with our church brothers and sisters.  Take the time to make phone calls, facetime, snap, whatever you do to interact.  Look for ways to serve each other.  Yesterday Sue was going to the grocery store, so she took a couple of minutes and asked a few people who might not want to go out if she could get something for them.

PSALM 87:
A short Psalm.  In the Old Testament times, God’s chosen people were the Jews.  God has chosen Jerusalem out of all of Israel to be His resting place.  This Psalm sings the praises of God and His choice.

When I read Psalms like this, my mind quickly replaces the Church with Jerusalem, and replaces Christians for the nation of Israel.

Either way you read it, I see here that wherever God is working, it is beautiful!

Rob


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Psalm 86

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

We are learning how to operate in a virtual world!  Some of us like this, others not so much.  But at least for the time being it’s our reality.
The church purchased a Zoom subscription.  We used it last night for the Trustee meeting.  It is available for your Life Groups if you would like it.

PSALM 86:

This Psalm was written by David.  David was great at pouring out his heart to the Lord, then letting God flood back in.

In this Psalm, David seems to do three things, that he repeats several times:

  1. Recognize/acknowledge that there is danger and pain
    ‘The arrogant are attacking me, a band of ruthless men seeks my life’ v. 14
  1. Remember/acknowledge God’s goodness and closeness
    ‘But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God.’  v. 15
  1. Ask for help in both areas
               ‘Teach me you way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
                  give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.’  v.  11

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Daniel Chapter 1

Hi Cedarcreek Folks,

As Rob mentioned in a daily email we are both working to send out daily emails (though my emails will look a little bit different and be a little less frequent).  I plan to record a few short audio clips each week called “10 Minute Devotionals”.

Those devotionals will be available on the Cedarcreek website [here] and will be roughly 10 minutes in length.  In each devotional I’ll:

  • Read a portion of scripture for you to listen to or read along with
  • Make a few comments on the scripture we read together
  • And ask a question at the end for you to think about or even journal about.

In the first series of 10 Minute Devotionals we will work through the first six chapters of the book of Daniel.  I hope and pray that these short devotionals are encouraging, challenging and uplifting to us as a body of believers.

The first recording on Daniel Chapter 1 is available [here].

Thanks!
Justin

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Psalm 85

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

Yesterday the Governor issued Emergency Order #12 – Safer At Home.  It basically closes all businesses that aren’t deemed an ‘Essential Business’.  The order lists ‘religious entities’ as an Essential Business (Paragraph 13(h)).  What that means is that Cedarcreek will continue to function as we did this past week.  All gatherings are cancelled, but the staff will be here during the weekday, 9-5.  Feel free to call or email us at the church.

This morning Luke and I recorded the second message in the Holy Week series.  It covers Mark 12-13 and is entitled ‘Teaching and Confrontation.’  That message will be online in audio version in the next 24 hours.

This coming Sunday we will again video the message and provide links for worship songs.  Our Sunday plan going forward is to include video of a smaller band doing live worship which would be included with the video teaching.

It’s strange not seeing all of you.  I’m looking forward to gathering together again!

PSALM 85:

This Psalm was written by the Sons of Korah.  This is in a series of Psalms which are part of Book III (Psalms 73-89).  While King David get credit for many of the Psalms, these Psalms in Book III are mostly written by others.  The Sons of Korah and Asaph are the ones with the most Psalms in this section.

Many of these Psalms follow a consistent pattern.  There is a recounting and remembering what God did in the past, followed by an acknowledgment that God doesn’t seem to be doing those things now, and ending with a confident plea for God to intervene again for His people.

Most of these Psalms were written many years after David reigned.  The nation of Israel had gotten increasingly apostate, and God has brought discipline to them in many forms, including foreign nations invading and taking territory away from Israel.

This Psalm follows that basic pattern.  As you read it, think about your own life:  What has God done in the past; What is He doing now; What do you long for in the future.  As you contemplate that, remember verses 8-9:

“I will listen to what God the Lord will say;
he promises peace to his people, his saints –
but let them not return to folly.
Surely his salvation is near those who fear him,
that His glory may dwell in our land.”

Rob

 


Cedarcreek Daily
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Psalm 84

Hi Cedarcreek Folks

As we move through the Covid – 19 pandemic and all of the attending restrictions, Justin and I will be sending out daily emails.

My emails will include a brief thought about the Psalm I read that day, along with some pertinent information of what’s happening at church. If you would rather not receive these emails, just let us know.  If you don’t get and would like to, let us know that.  Feel free to forward these to anyone you think might want them.

This coming Sunday, March 29, we will do basically what we did last week.  We’ll have a link to a video of the Holy Week teaching, along with links to worship songs.  We will also have a Discussion Guide online.  As time goes on, we are exploring a live feed Sunday morning service.

PSALM 84:

I love this one.  Here are a few thoughts on it:

‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.’ vs. 1-2
Our greatest desire really is to be with God – to see him face to face.  Whatever this world and these days bring, they are only a prelude until we go home.

‘Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.’
‘As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.’  vs.  3,6
God’s natural world is a picture to me of His strength and goodness.  In the midst of our uncertainty, spring has returned.  The buds are forming, the robins have come back, the sap is running.  I find comfort in God’s consistent power.  He rules the world – I can trust Him.

 ‘For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.  O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.’  vs.  11-12
God loves you and me.  No good thing does he withhold.  I can walk with Him because of Christ.  I can trust in Him because of His great strength and goodness.

 Rob