February 26 - Message Update

Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of February 26, 2017

Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from Exodus 15:1-18, “Prayer of Praise.” As we continue our study of Exodus, with the theme “A Great God for a Great Movement” we will examine a prayer in the form of a song that Moses sang immediately following God’s rescue of the Israelites as they were fleeing the mighty army of Egypt.     Similar to the Lord’s Prayer, Moses’ prayer begins with recalling God’s majesty, power, and holiness.  This prayer points to God as the one who rescued Israel.  Specific prayers focused upon praising God are often neglected because we are consumed with our own needs.  Why is praising God essential for the follower of Christ?

1) Praising God reminds us that He is a WARRIOR.  The first stanza of Moses’ song of praise begins with, “The LORD is my strength and song and He has become my salvation.” There is no doubt in the mind of Moses that God is responsible for saving Israel. He praises God and acknowledges Him as Savior but also recognizes that the LORD is a warrior. Moses completes the first stanza with a clear description of how the Egyptian soldiers were defeated. The literal rescue of Israel from the Egyptian army just occurred. They walked through the parted Red Sea then God destroyed the soldiers by collapsing the sea upon them. The shores were littered with dead bodies. Some have questioned the reality of this event but when you consider God is the one who parted the Red Sea, God the Creator of the expansive universe, nature, and life itself, parting the Red Sea is a simple task. God gave the Egyptians plenty of chances to turn to Him. The ten plagues were clear warnings to give up their gods.  There are two outcomes from this historical incident. First was the spectacular deliverance of 2 million of God’s people. It was an earthly event that gives a clear picture of God’s desire to fight for His people spiritually. He is the Ultimate Fighter who goes to war for us and fights our battles to rescue us from our enemies. Sadly this occurrence is also a horrific picture of the destruction of God’s enemies.  It is a sobering illustration of what’s in store for those who are so prideful they deny God.  From the story of the Exodus, we see how our great God goes to great lengths in order to protect and save His people. Also realize the fate of those who continually reject the one True God, Jehovah. Through this prayer/song followers of Christ should know, we have an unbeatable warrior who fights for you. 

2) Praising God reminds us of His POWER. (vv.6-10) 6 Your right hand , O LORD is majestic in POWER, Your right hand, O LORD shatters the enemy.  Moses in His praise for God acknowledges the power and might of God who utterly destroys and shatters the enemy. Moses recognizes the majestic, supreme power of God.  By His full authority the Egyptians are annihilated. God easily overcomes those who dare to go up against Him. 8 through the blast of His nostrils the waters are parted, and 10 by the winds the sea covered them. The prayer of praise is not a time to request anything from God but it is a moment to remember who He is and what He has done. Too often prayer is focused on our needs and we fail to remember who we are speaking to. We saw how soon Israel complained to Moses when things became harsh saying it would’ve been better to be slaves in Egypt than to die in the wilderness. (Exodus 14:10-12) They were thrilled when God set them free but as soon as troubles came, they became whiners and complainers, forgetting the sovereignty of God’s power. Prayers of praise keep things in proper perspective... a God-centered perspective. So far from Moses’ prayer of praise we have been reminded that God is a warrior who fights for His people. He exercises His power for our good, fighting the seen and unseen battles in our lives. Only God knows how many times He has protected you from Satan and his demons. When you are alone with God, praise Him for the victories even if you were unaware.  

3)  Praising God reminds us of His HOLINESS.  (vv.11-18)  11 Who is like You, majestic in holiness awesome in praises, working wonders? The third stanza of this prayer/song begins by acknowledging God for who He is, majestic in holiness.  (v.11)  Our God is the holiest of holy. He is the originator of all things sacred. 12 You stretched out Your hand, the earth swallowed them up. 13 in Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed, in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation. Moses understands how God views His people and praises Him for His holiness. After acknowledging God’s holiness from verses 14-17, the prayer turns prophetic. (vv.4-15) The peoples have heard, they tremble. Who are these people?  They are the inhabitants of Philistia, the chiefs of Edom, the leaders of Moab, and all the inhabitants of Canaan.  They are the enemies of Israel who will resist the Israelites trek to the Promised Land.  Moses’ prayer of praise reminds Israel how sacred and holy they are to Him.  Those who oppose His chosen ones will be fearful because of what He has already done for them.  It is a prophesy of comfort and confidence because their God, (v.18) The LORD will reign forever and ever. God, the Holy One, loves His people. Whenever it is possible, seek His holiness.  A prayer of praise is a good place to start.

Derrick Hamilton, spent 21 years unjustly imprisoned. Freed from prison on December 7, 2011.  Here is what he said... The day I walked out, my wife, my nephew, and my son were in the car waiting for me. There was a church right around the corner. I would listen for the bells and pray when I heard them. It was my only opportunity to pray at the same time people on the outside were praying.  One of the first things I wanted to do when I got out was to pray in that church. I went in and thanked God for my release … Going into that church and praying was like being born again. It would be awesome that if each time we prayed it would be like being born again, but I know that is not a reality.  What might help bring life and appreciation to a prayer life that could use a kick start is praying a prayer of praise, focusing upon our WARRIOR God, who is willing to fight for us, His POWER and His HOLINESS.

 

Thank you Pam Yata for the Childrens Message from Exodus 15. Last time, we remember there was Pharaoh and the plagues while Moses repeatedly said, “Let my people go!” So Pharaoh eventually lets them go, but changes his mind and goes chasing after them as the Israelites were heading to their Promised Land. As God gives them safe passage and stops Pharaoh and his army, in gladness, Moses led the people in a song, “Our God reigns!

 

Calendar Items:

3/2-4                             B.A.S.S. Convention

3/5                                Visitors Day

3/5     both services       Missions Moment – JEMS Mt. Hermon Special Camp

3/11    10am-12pm         Special Camp Information Meeting

3/14-21                         Young Life Homestay Program (Daisuke and Cheryl Ikegami)

3/19   both services       Missions Moment – Nick Wong  

3/26        9:00am           CE Teacher’s Brunch & Training meeting

3/26      10:45am            Missions Moment – Joey and Jasmine Tell (http://www.wheelchairproject.com/the_team/)

3/26        1:00pm           NAOMI Team Meeting (room 8-9-10)

 

4/2          9:00am           First-Time Short-Term Missionary Training (room 8)

4/2        12:45pm            NAOMI Team Meeting (room 8-9-10)

4/7          7:11pm           B.A.M.

4/8       11am-3pm         Church Picnic at the CV Community Center (Vern Hu)

4/9                                Palm Sunday

4/16                              Easter

4/23   both services       Greetings/sharing from David and Sue Verwey (Japan Mission)

4/23      12:45pm            Missions Team meeting (room 8)

4/29     8am – 2pm         Love East Bay – Spring Serve (Pastor Eric)

4/29     9am – 1pm         Special Camp Aide Training (English sanctuary and kitchen use)

 

Have a blessed week praising God,

Stan , for SLZJCC