“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
“Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” – Psalm 103:1-4

Readings

Exodus 15:20-27 · Matthew 9:18-38 · Psalm 30

Sermon

Our text expresses the feeling which we should always have toward the Lord.

Some people think that the Lord is severe with them. They want many things but do not get them. They suffer many things and they do not see why. They grow to be discontented with their lot, and feel that they are worthy of better and that the Lord disregards them. Inwardly they do not bless but curse the Lord.

The text describes the state into which we should strive to come, or the relation that we may all sustain toward the Lord, a relation toward Him whereby we feel in our hearts that He always blesses us. From this inward feeling that He always blesses us we are given to exclaim, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Then it is added, “and forget not all his benefits.” If we do not from our souls bless the Lord, it is because we forget His benefits and dwell upon what we have not obtained, or upon some minor thing.

There are many things over which people grieve, worry, and fear; but there is only one real source of sorrow, only one actual cause for fear, and that is our sins. There is absolutely nothing that can hurt us except our own evils. The Lord so governs our ministering and guardian angels, in whose care we are, that no matter what is said to us or done to us, only good will come out of it if we are strong in temptation and refrain from sin. And this is the strength that we may be given from the Lord: to say in affliction and joy alike, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

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“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.” – Psalm 93:4

Readings

Exodus 30:1-10 · Revelation 8 · Psalm 138

Sermon

Altars are mentioned many times throughout the Word. It is recorded that Noah built an altar unto the Lord, Abraham built an altar, Moses built an altar, Joshua, Balaam, Elijah, Gideon, and David built altars. Altars are mentioned also in the Gospels and in Revelation.

An altar is a symbol of Divine worship in general. In the tabernacle there was the golden altar of incense in the Holy Place and there was the great brazen altar in the outer court. Likewise in the temple built by Solomon there were the golden altar and the brazen altar.

We read in the writings that “Altars were made of soil, of stones, of brass, of wood, and also of gold; of brass, wood, and gold because these signified good” (A.C. 8940e).

From most ancient times men built altars for worship. The altar of stone represents worship from truth. The stones were to be used just as they were found in nature, to represent the fact that truths as found in the Word are from the Lord and that they must not be changed or altered to fit the desires of men.

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“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy,” by Louis A. Dole

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“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5

Readings

Leviticus 26:1-13 · Revelation 11:1-19 · Psalm 30

Sermon

The one hundred twenty-sixth Psalm, from which this text is taken, is a Psalm of thanksgiving, though it speaks of tears and weeping. It looks through the tears; it sees through the weeping. It is true to the Gospel, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” It is true to life. The deepest emotions and joys are not expressed by laughter. The philosophy which portrays a happy life as one of mirth, ease, and pleasure is a hollow philosophy, and its followers lead shallow lives. Nothing of value is obtained without effort and sacrifice. The body does not grow strong without labor; the mind does not gain knowledge and power without effort. We have to give up ease and self-indulgence and apply ourselves to our tasks if we are to gain in strength and wisdom. The commonplace is bought at the commonplace price. Worth-while things cost. Their cost is self-denial. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

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“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
“The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there.” – Psalm 87:5, 6

Readings

Isaiah 2:1-11 · Matthew 7:15-29 · Psalm 84

Sermon

The eighty-seventh Psalm, from which our text is taken, is a song of praise to the Lord for His church. In Zechariah we read, “I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” Here Jerusalem is the city of truth and Zion the holy mountain. Zion represents a state of love and those in whom love to the Lord reigns. So the Psalmist writes, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion,” and again, “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” It is not the material city and mountain that are here meant. Again, the angels of heaven were seen in vision by John on Mount Zion: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” The Father is the Lord as to His Divine love, and His name written on the forehead is His truth inscribed in the will. Zion was the highest part of Jerusalem; so our Psalm continues with the words, “The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” The gates of Zion are the truths which lead men to states of love. These are precious in the Lord’s sight, more than all the speculations of science or any other knowledge. For without the possession of heavenly love, no other grace is truly valuable. Love is the fulfilling of the law; it disposes the heart to believe and rejoice in the truth.

The Zion, then, whose gates the Lord loves, and of which it shall be said, when He counts up His people, “This man was born there,” is no material city, but a state of life. We naturally have an affection for the place where we were born, where our childhood days were spent. But as the Lord is no respecter of persons, He will certainly be no respecter of cities, or of any one place over another on His beautiful earth. The place of one’s natural birth does not confer any special benefit. A good man is a good man wherever he may have been born.

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” by Louis A. Dole

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” – Psalm 111:10

Readings

Jeremiah 32:36-44 · Revelation 14 · Psalm 19

Sermon

There are many passages in the Bible enjoining fear of the Lord. In Revelation we read, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

The angel bearing this message is the third angel whom John saw in vision. The Bible narrative is nearing its close, the judgment is nearly finished, and the messages are becoming more definite and clear. This third angel is declared to have “the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”

The “everlasting gospel” which the angel preached was “Fear God, and give glory unto him.”

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“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” – Psalm 33:12

Readings

Micah 6 · Mark 12:28-44 · Psalm 27

Sermon

We are entering upon another year. The calendar year is determined by the rotation of the earth on its axis and in its orbit around the sun. If the sun, planets, and stars were fixed and there was no other method of measuring time, time would have to be measured in states of life and succession of events.

And indeed we often do measure time in terms of significant events which have taken place in our lives. Some years seem especially noteworthy, such as the year when the war came to an end. So, too, in our individual experience some years stand out because of particular events which brought us pleasure or sorrow or marked a turning point in our lives. Yet we should remember that such events do not just “happen”; they are the result of a long preparation.

One of the things toward which the world looks forward is the time when preparations for war will cease. If this coming year sees even the limitation of armaments, a great burden will be lifted and a step taken toward the abolition of war. Never have the nations felt the need for such a step as they feel it now. War is becoming more and more destructive, and it is difficult to visualize just how destructive a war today would be. The suffering caused by war, the sickness and poverty that follow in its train, the disorganization of useful industries, the burden of taxation are causing men to realize that for these burdens to continue and increase means the breaking down of civilization if not the end of human life on this earth. These are economic reasons for an effort to stop the mad race which can end only in ruin.

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“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.” – Psalm 115:1

Readings

Leviticus 26:1-13 · John 15:1-16 · Psalm 104:24-35

Sermon

The first harvest which the New England colonists reaped upon our shores was made the occasion of special thanksgiving and prayer to God. The importance of this first harvest, which meant that the colonists had gained a foothold in the new land, increased as its significance became better understood until, under President Lincoln in 1863, it was made a permanent national celebration.

From a very small beginning we have grown to become the richest and most powerful nation that the world has ever seen. The harvest is from the Lord’s hand. So today we celebrate that first harvest in recognition of the Lord as God over the destiny of nations as well as of individuals.

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“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep,” by Louis A. Dole

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“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
“These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
“For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
“They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
“They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.
“Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
“He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
“Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” – Psalm 107:23-30

Readings

Jonah 1 · Matthew 8:18-27 · Psalm 148

Sermon

This text has a message to us in its letter which anyone can understand. Thousands of people have gone through this experience. The Divine providence is over us in the dangers and uncertainties of this life, and the Lord holds in His almighty hands control of the winds and waves. Even physical calamities are permitted only when He sees that they will promote some greater good.

But our text does not relate merely to the things of this world. It is a striking picture of the Christian pilgrimage through the regenerating life to the haven of heavenly rest.

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“O taste and see that the Lord is good,” by Louis A. Dole

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“O taste and see that the Lord is good.” – Psalm 34:8

Readings

Exodus 16:11-26 · Luke 14:12-24 · Psalm 34

Sermon

The sense of taste is the first sense developed in the infant. While this sense is usually thought of as an enjoyment pure and simple, it is principally one of utility, its office being to inquire into the quality and fitness of everything that goes into the mouth to become a portion of the physical body which is the envelope of the spiritual body. Taste has been made pleasurable by the Creator for the purpose of enlisting our help in the Divine effort to keep the body alive and capable of performing its earthly service for the spirit.

As food and drink correspond to good and truth, taste corresponds to the perception of and affection for knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, and righteousness. We speak of a sound mind in a sound body.

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name,” by Louis A. Dole

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” – Psalm 103:1-2

Readings

Haggai 2:1-9, 20-23 · Revelation 14:1-7 · Psalm 103

Sermon

In the Word we find numerous and beautiful references to the value of thanksgiving, of the acknowledgment and confession of the Lord’s goodness, and of the mercies which He bestows: thanksgiving for spiritual blessings. “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee.”

There are thanksgivings for the coming of the Lord and the establishment and growth of His kingdom, and thanksgivings for His presence with us, enlightening us to see the way of life and delivering us from spiritual bondage. So the Psalmist writes, “I will offer unto thee the sacrifices of thanksgiving.”

The Lord commissioned His apostles saying, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” The word translated creature here means every created thing. The Lord could give this command because He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and could say “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” We recall that the Lord by His miracles, the turning of the water into wine, the stilling of the storm, the healing of all manner of sicknesses, showed that He had this power.

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