Archive for the ‘sorrow’ Category

Is it true? Job 2

February 6, 2018

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” Job 2:4-5

A man went to visit a Christian brother who had suddenly dropped out of church.  The brother was very friendly in opening the door.  There was the usual small talk but then the question came.  Is it true that you are quitting church?  The answer was quick and to the point, “yes, I am quitting church and I am quitting God.”  The brother was in shock as he responded, “Why?”  The man said in response, “Every time I attempt to serve the Lord. I lose my job.”

Brothers and sisters, is it possible that people only follow God if He blessings them with good times?  This is the line of reasoning of Satan as he comes to accuse Job before God.

Satan believed Job would renounce his faith if God allowed Job’s health to be attacked.  But God knew that Job’s faith was real.  Question: How real is our faith?”

Job teaches us a valuable truth in chapter two:  “God is praise worthy in good times and in bad times.”

Here are 4 things I have learned about our God in both good times and bad times:

  1. God came to redeem us from eternal bad times, Romans 3:25.
  2. God came to rescue us from Satan’s traps.  I John 4:7.
  3. God came to reside with us in tough times, John 16:33; Hebrews 13:7-8.
  4. God came to strengthen our faith in times of testing, I Peter 1:5-8.

I cannot imagine the heartbreak of the brother who left his friend’s home knowing that the man was walking away from God.

This very day, you and I must strengthen ourselves in faith.  This day we must remind ourselves of God’s redemption, God’s rescue, and God’s residing in us!!!  Cultivate your faith and cling to your faith in good times and bad.

May it never be said that we cursed God and wished to die.

Lift up your voice to God in this precious old hymn of the faith.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
By: Robert Robinson, 1735-90

Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love,
Teach me ever to adore Thee;
May I still Thy goodness prove.

Here I raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Oh, that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in the blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy wondrous grace!
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send Thine angels soon to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

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Being thankful for what we do not see (II Samuel 16; II Corinthians 9:15)

September 20, 2013

“Thanks be unto God for His inexpressible gift.”  II Corinthians 9:15

“It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today,”  II Samuel 16:12

Recently I was reading an advertisement for a city in New Mexico, “Come and stay with us, we are the city that experiences the wonder of all four seasons.”  As I read this advertisement I thought of the season that King David was in during the time of II Samuel 16.

I believe it was the winter-time of his life!!!

David was faced with three challenges in this chapter:

1.  He was faced with a friend who very deceptive, Vs: 1-4

2.  He was faced with a foolish liar who hated David, Vs: 5-14

3.  He was faced with a flawed son who severed any hope of reconciliation, Vs: 15-23

Despite these challenges, there is something that stands out to me, “David was thankful in this season of his life.”  Some would say, “We are to rejoice no matter the season of life.” I would respond, “David could not rejoice at the sin before Him.”  He wept and he was weary.  This is the common response of anyone who faces such an hour.  However, David was thankful in spite of this season, a better day was ahead.

I believe David was looking forward to the day he would be with the Lord.  Ever since the day his infant died in II Samuel 12, it seems David has in full focus what is ahead.

Think it through:

1.  Ask yourself, is this season the end of my existence?

2.  Walk through II Corinthians 9 where you will discover the inexpressible gift of Christ that guarantees that this will not be the end of your life.

3.  Seek to discover what God has for you in this journey (John 15:1-9).

Take it out for a spin:

Spend time praising God for who He is and for what He is going to do in your life!!!

The Sorrow And Agony Of Our Lord

February 8, 2012

“And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.”  Matthew 26:37

Believe it or not, “You are not the only person to ever face sorrow.”  Here in Matthew 26 we discover the great sorrow and agony of our Lord. The scriptures teach us very clearly, Hebrews 4:14-16, that our Lord identifies with our sorrows.  As you face life’s issues, be assured our Lord understands.  The bible teaches us that not even a sparrow falling to the ground escapes his loving eye.

This mornings scripture reading, Matthew 26:36-56, gives us great insight into the sorrow and agony of our Lord.  Question, “Do you often think about His sorrow?”  The answer for most of us is, “No.”  Usually we focus on all we are facing and at most maybe we focus on what our closest friends are facing.  This morning I want to help you to focus on what our Lord faced.

This passage begins with Jesus sorrow and agony in a small wooded area just outside the city of Jerusalem.  The place is called, “The Garden of Gethsemane.”  I have been blessed to stand in this small out-of-the-way place on the hillside opposite the city of Jerusalem.  Here Jesus, probably near midnight, gathers his inner group of disciples and he simply asks them to stay awake and pray (Of which they could not even do for one hour).

The scene shifts to Jesus being alone with the Father a short distance from where the disciples are asleep.  Here we discover the reason for Jesus sorrow and agony.  Jesus was about to face the wrath of God which would be poured out on Him as the substitute for each of us.

This is what caused the sorrow and agony of our Lord.  This morning I was once again reminded that His agony and sorrow was because of me.  This sorrow was no fault of his own.  He bore the punishment that should have been mine.  Here in this garden Jesus reminds us  of his submission to accomplish this great task for us, “Not as I will, but as you will.”  

Brothers and sisters in Christ, because of his sorrow, you and I will never have to experience the sorrow Jesus faced.  We will never endure the wrath of God.  This truth is a source of great encouragement to me as I face things that seem often so great. All of my sorrows are only temporary and they have no eternal effect.  Because of Christ sorrow I will have eternal happiness in heaven.

This day, I pray you find encouragement in Christ’s sufferings.  Soon and very soon we will be standing before the one who died for us.  Rejoice today in knowing that He understands our sorrow and He underwent the greatest of sorrow in our place.

For further study consider Romans 5-7 and II Corinthians 6:14-18.  

Many Sleepless Nights

August 29, 2011

This morning the Lord awakened me very early.  As I made my way downstairs to my familiar place to meet with the Lord, I felt great tiredness from a night of little sleep.  As I began to read the word, I found myself drifting in and out of sleep.  I am sure many who read this find this scenario very familiar.  In this moment I began to pray, “Father awaken me to your word and your work for me this day.”  Suddenly heaven began to open as my mind and heard became alert and open to God’s word.

Each of the last 7 chapters of II Corinthians now held so much meaning for me. However there was one passage that stood out, II Corinthians 11:16-33. Here Paul reminds the church of all that he had faced in the gospel ministry.  Here is just one line, “Through many sleepless nights,” Vs: 27.  

When I read those words tears filled my eyes as I considered all those who lose sleep for the gospel.  Paul’s sleeplessness was not because of wrestling with God over unconfessed sin or an argument over direction.  His sleeplessness was not because he was at odds with others.  Paul’s sleeplessness was because of the gospel.

For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong,” II Cor. 12:10.  

Brothers and sisters, “Why do you and I have sleepless nights?”  Do we find ourselves awake because of our obstacles or because of our opportunities?  The fact is many stay awake because of the obstacles.  These obstacles can evidence themselves in such things as: “Worry, doubt, confusion, anger, disappointment, and physical problems.”

However what would our nights be like if we turned these things around and looked at them as opportunities?  For example, if we brought our worries to God, in the night, and entrusted them into His safe keeping.  In this moment we would discover, “His grace is sufficient.”

One of the wonderful blessings of life is to walk with God through sleepless nights.  In these nights I have learned so much about God’s character, God’s sovereign purposes, and God’s power.  In these nights I have discovered how God can use everything for the sake of the gospel.

So my challenge for this day is for each of you to embrace all the hardships you are facing with the mindset, “This is for the sake of Christ.”  Oh my brothers and sisters your life is about to take on new meaning that will be for His glory. True rest comes when we are at peace with God and at peace with all God is doing in our lives.

How To Handle Bad News

February 7, 2011

In life a person will almost surely have his or her share of bad news.  The question for us this morning is simply, “How do we handle bad news?”  Several years ago, “I remember how our youngest son handled the news of Don Knott’s death.”  He was devastated and said, “I guess there will be no more Barney on Andy.”  At first, I wanted to laugh but then I saw the brokenness in the heart of a child.  John handled bad news with a tender and broken heart.

This morning as I read Revelation 9-14, I felt the sadness that comes with bad news.  In this case, the sorrow of the tribulation period. How could we not weep for the millions who will die at the battle of Armageddon, “And the wine-press was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bride, for 184 miles,” 14:20. How could we not weep for the millions who will refuse to repent when facing the judgment of God, “Nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts,” 9:21.

A lost and dying world always handles bad news with anger, resentment, and a refusal to bow before almighty God.  However it should not be this way with the child of God.

Consider what the Psalmist wrote, “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.  He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord,” 112:6-7.

Did you notice? “He is not afraid of bad news.”  Those who walk with the Lord discover they can totally rely on the Lord when they hear bad news simply because they were relying on the Lord as they walked toward the bad news.  Such people do not wait until they hear bad news and then cry out to God.  They are righteous and they are relying totally on the God who made them righteous.

Brothers and sister we can handle any bad news in Christ.  He is the one who is the firm foundation we stand on.  Be assured that if you are rocked from your stand when bad news comes, you are trusting in someone other than Jesus.  For most of us, the bad news reveals our sinful dependence on ourselves.

This past weekend I watched as God fulfilled Psalm 112:6-7 in the life of a couple who recently joined the church.  They received the worst news parents could receive, “their 21-year-old son had died.”  I watched as they wept and they wondered what to do next.  I watched as they reached out to the one they were learning how to follow.  The precious wife said, “Pastor, I remember what you have been preaching and I am leaning on what I have learned.”

Praise God for a family who have discovered they can lean on Christ when they hear bad news.  Now I don’t know what bad news you will receive today.  And I do not know when the tribulation period will begin.  But here is something I do know, “In Christ you do not have to be afraid of bad news.”

Tears, some good and some not so good.

March 26, 2010

From my earliest memories of life, I have always been a person who easily cries because of my emotional makeup.  My Children often poke fun at me because I even cry during parts of children’s movies.  It has been said, “I cry at the drop of a hat and I carry my own hat.”

Tears are a part of every persons life.  Some people shed tears easily and some not so easily.  Some people show emotion and some people fight emotion.  In the scripture we find many instances when people shed tears.  The Psalmist writes, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy,” 126:5.

I wonder “What were the circumstances that lead to the last time you shed a tear?”  For some people it is in a time of death or tragedy that they shed a tear.  For others it is when they see someone abused.  Still yet some people cry freely about everything.

In todays devotion, II Chronicles 33 through the end the book of Ezra we find many reasons God’s people could cry.  They could shed tears because of captivity or they could shed tears because of unfair treatment.

However there is one particular moment that I want you to see.  God’s people have been allowed to return to their land (Ezra1) and they have been given the assignment to rebuilt the temple.  As the foundation is laid the book of Ezra offers the following commentary, “So that the people could not discern the noise of the joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off,” 3:13.  Imagine the scene as God’s people looked at the blessing of a new foundation being laid. Some were excited and some were upset.

The people who were excited were those who looked to the future.  Their tears were of joy.  The people who were upset were the ones who had remembered the first temple and its beauty and they wept looking back.

Question, “Who was right in their tears?”  In a sense they both were.  We should shed tears of joy and thankfulness for what God is doing and is going to do.  But at the same time we should shed tears when we think about all the times we have missed out on the blessings of God because of sin.

However the bottom line is, never look back!  Always deal with your failures and place them at the foot of the cross and move forward shedding tears of joy because you are living in obedience to the cause of Christ.

I wonder, are you facing things that cause tears?  If so, consider the reasons for your tears and then consider what would God have you do.  Crying over the past will not bring success now and in the future.  Put the past where the past belongs, which is in the past and move into the now with tears of joy because we serve a great and awesome God.

I leave you with God’s precious word, “There is a time to tear, and a time to sew,” Ecclesiastes 3:7.  I am believing it is time for you to sow!!!