Archive for the ‘trust’ Category

What Are You Thinking? (Psalm 77; Ezekiel 28)

September 25, 2014

“You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.”  Psalm 77:4

I often see them as they make their way into the sanctuary each Sunday.  They are putting on their best smiles, but the eyes do not lie.  I can see the worry and the hurt that so many carry because of all that is troubling them.  Certainly, you see them as well?  Maybe, you are also facing worry and hurt?

This morning the Psalmist is facing some extreme trouble.  His thoughts however bring joy to his mind simply because he thinks correctly.

Think it through:

1.  He looks at the big picture of who God is in regard to the ages.

“Then I said, I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”

2. He gains strength for the moment as he process the big picture.

“I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.  Your way is holy.  What god is great like our God?” Psalm 77:12-13

3.  He moves forward because the God of Moses is his God.

“You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” Psalm 77:20

If I could just get my brothers and sisters to think this way as they come to the sanctuary, then their burden would be lightened and their load lifted.  Consider Jesus, “Come unto me all you who are burned down and I will give you rest,” Matt. 11:28

Our response:

1.  We must decide to look about the moment (The trial) and look to the bigger picture of what God is doing.  Check out Romans 8:28-31 and James 1:1-5

2.  We must trust in the God who is at work in the moment.  Check out Philippians 1 and Proverbs 3:5-6

3. We must face each new day as a victor and not a victim.  Check out I John 4

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Going Back On Your Word (Jeremiah 34, Psalm 5-6)

August 6, 2014

“You recently repented and did what was right in my eyes, by proclaiming liberty, each to his neighbors, and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name. But then you turned around and profaned my name when you took back…” Jeremiah 34:15-16

After all these years I can still remember the words of my grandfather, “Son, your word is your bond.”  My grandfather owned a country store for much of his life.  During those decades he make many business deals with his customers.  Never was there a legal document drawn up, a hand-shake was always enough.  But, as my grandfather used to say, “There are those who go back on their word.”

Question, “Do you and I ever go back on our word?”

Think it through:

In Jeremiah 34, God speaks directly to both the King of Judah and to the people of Judah.

First, God makes a promise to the king, “You shall die in peace.”  Fast forward in time and you will discover, “God kept His word.”

Second, Judah makes a promise to their king, “We will free our slaves.” Fast forward in time and you will discover, “the people did not keep their word.”

The result, “Going back on their word made their shame even worse.”

The Bible is clear, “There is great devastation for those who go back on their word,” Hebrews 6:4-6.  The Bible is also clear, “There was one who never went back on His word.”  His name, “Jesus!”  Check out John 6:35; 8:29; John 17:4-8

Praise be unto God that we serve a God who keeps His word.  You and I can live in confidence because He always keeps His word.

Our response:

1.  Consider your own commitments.  The Bible says, “We must have the mind of Christ,” Phil. 2:5.  Our actions are to mirror the actions of the Lord.  Ask the Lord to bring to your mind all of your commitments.  If you have failed, “make them right for God’s glory.”

2.  Consider God’s commitments.  Take heart that you serve a God who is always faithful.  Spend time praising Him and spend time discovering His commitments.  Be assured His commitments lead us to place of confidence in our walk with the Lord.

The Lord Has spoken (That’s enough for me) Isaiah 14, I Peter 2

May 15, 2014

“The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have planned so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand,” Isaiah 14:24

There are days when it seems that the voices in our world are anything but encouraging.  The voice of the news says, “there is unrest in the world.”  The voice of economics cries out, “Things do not look good.”  The voice of government cries out, “You can trust us.”  The voice of evil speaks, “We are in charge and you cannot stop us.”  Finally the voice of doubt whispers, “You will not make it.”

However, there is another voice that is crying out even louder.  It is the voice of God that says, “I got this!”  Brothers and sisters, “The Lord has spoken, and that is enough for me.”

Consider the Lord’s Word to Judah in Isaiah 14.  This word was delivered by the prophet Isaiah.  Judah was in exile for her sin, but God promised I will have compassion and chose you once again. 

If this promise was going to be realized, the oppressors of Judah would have to be removed.  This is exactly what God would do.  In Isaiah 14 God speaks directly to Babylon.  He makes two promises, 1. Death awaits, Vs: 5-9 2.  Death is assured, Vs: 11-17

Think it through:

Do you and I believe the Lord who has spoken?  As I look back through history, I have discovered that God has always accomplished what He has said.  This leads me to two gigantic truths:

1.  The God who speaks is the voice of assurance, Vs: 24 “The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have planned, so shall it be.”

2.  The God who speaks is the voice of authority, Vs; 26-27 “His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” 

Our response:

As we hear all the voices around us we can be assured that there is a great voice of assurance who speaks with authority.  We can trust Him.  We must turn to Him (Rev. 1:13-16).  We must daily listen to Him (Hebrews 2:1).

Let us proclaim with all the saints of old, “We trust in the Lord who has spoken!!!”

It Did Not Help (II Chronicles 27-28; Revelation 14)

December 23, 2013

“For Ahaz took a portion from the house of the Lord and the house of the king and of the princes, and gave tribute to the king of Assyria, but it did not help him.”  II Chronicles 28:21

Someone once said, “The true definition of insane is simply continuing to the do the same things that never have any hope of a different result.” In my life there have been those moments of insanity because of my desire to make something work when I knew it was not going to work.  However there are those things, that I know will work (Help).

Consider our More for Christ readings in II Chronicles.  Before us in chapter 28 is the life of King Ahaz.  One could say, “His life is lived in insanity.”  Maybe you would respond, “How can you say this from reading one chapter in the Bible?”

Think it through:

1.  We see Ahaz record, Vs: 1-4

Here is a king who followed the path of wicked leader.  Here is a king who sacrificed even his own son to Baal.  He is a man who opened the door to the evil that God had driven out.

2.  We see Ahaz responsibility, Vs: 5-21

This king led his people to face the judgment of God and he led his people to face the mistreatment of his own countrymen.  Finally he led his people to form unholy alliances.

At this point we see God’s footnote, “But it did not help him.”

Surely you see the insanity in all of this?  But if not, note one last thing.

3.  We see Ahaz resolve, Vs: 22-27

Instead of turning to God, the Bible records the following, “In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the Lord-this same King Ahaz.”  

Yes, this man was insane.  But so are many other people who live their lives without submitting themselves to God.

Our resolves:

Our resolve should be to look to another King.  This King is Jesus.  As one follows the record of His life, we see one who is sinless and faithful to the Father, I Peter 1:18-19.  As one follows the responsibility of His life, we see one who purchased our redemption, Romans 4:25.  As one follows the resolve of His life, we see one who was faithful to the end, John 17:10-19.

The person who follows Christ follows the one person that truly gives help in this life.

In Whom Do We Trust? (I Samuel 2; Romans 2)

August 12, 2013

“There is no only holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”  I Samuel 2:2

Not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance,”  Romans 2:4

There he stood, a young boy facing a giant of a mountain.  Beside of him stood his father who was offering encouragement, “trust me son, we will get to the top together.”  The question in this young boys mind was simple, “Was his faith in his father stronger than his fear of the mountain?”

Brothers and sisters, “Could our situations in life really be this simple?”  Before us this morning is I Samuel 2.  The chapter begins with the prayer of Hannah, Vs: 1-10.  The chapter concludes with the sad commentary on the crumbling ministry of Eli, Vs: 11-35.

In this chapter we see a clear contrast of a woman who stood on the solid rock and a nation that was standing on crumbling rocks.  The woman placed her faith in her rock and the second placed their faith in their priest (Crumbling rock).

Notice the rock in Vs: 1-10:

1.  We see the strength of this rock, Vs: 1 (Points us to Jesus, Matthew 7:21-27)

2.  We see the sovereignty of this rock, Vs: 2-9 (Points us to Jesus, I Peter 2:7-15)

3.  We see the security of this rock, Vs: 10 (Points us to Jesus, Hebrews 11:6, 13:8)

Notice the crumbling rock in Vs: 11-35

Here we see a leader who allows his sons to corrupt the priesthood.  Here we see a leader who allowed his sons to disregard his rebuke.  Here we see a leader who had more love for his sons than for his God.

Question:  Which rock are you trusting in today?  Hannah trusted in God and her life was filled with worship to her God.

Remember the dilemma of the little boy?  Here is the rest of the story.  He chose to trust in his father.  A few hours later he stood at the top of the mountain praising his father for leading him up the mountain.  This is what Hannah was doing and this is what I want to do this very day!!!

Yes, the mountain is before you!!!  But you are standing on the rock of Jesus!!!  Trust him and get to climbing in Jesus name.

He is with us through it all (Genesis 39: Mark 9)

February 6, 2013

“But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison,” Gen. 39:21

And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can! All things are possible for one who believes,” Mark 9:23

Often I am reminded of some event or some moment from days gone by in my life. It seems that men (Especially me) live in just the moment without must thought of what has already happened.  This happened last week as I was reading through the Liberty Journal.  I read about Tim Lee who recently was speaking at Liberty University.  Quickly I recalled the day he spoke at our last church.  Immediately I recalled the strong encouragement he brought to our church and the message, “Be a soldier for Jesus.”

Brothers and sisters this is why it is crucial that we are daily students of God’s Word.  We must read, memorize, and internalize the Word of God.  Consider Genesis 39 and God’s presence in Joseph’s life:

1.  God was with Joseph:  He was given position, Vs: 1-6

2.  God was with Joseph:  He was given perspective, Vs: 7-20

3. God was with Joseph:   He was given power, Vs: 21-40

In each of these moments it was God’s steadfast love and supernatural power that led Joseph through every thing he faced.  In Mark 9 Jesus led a grieving father to trust that He would see him through.

This day, you and I need to look deeply at the overwhelming evidence of scripture that proves, “He is with us through it all.”  This day, you and I need to look deeply at the overwhelming evidence of our past that proves, “He is with us through it all.”

Take heart my brothers and sisters, “All things are possible to those who know He is with us through it all!!!”

And Indestructible Life (Hebrews 7:1-19)

October 23, 2012

Who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.” 7:16

“And indestructible life.”  This description sounds like a scene from a Marvel comic or from the movie, “The Avengers.”  However, we know, Marvel comic characters are simply figments of people’s imaginations.  But in our More For Christ readings we discover this description is a fact of a person’s true identity.

I remind you that the book of Hebrews is written to present Jesus to us as our Great High Priest.  He is greater still than any earthly priest.  This is clearly seen in the writers thoughts in chapter 7.  Notice the following suggested outline:

1.  Jesus is greater than any earthly priest, Vs: 1-10

The writer mentions Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-2) who was both priest and king of Salem in the time of Abraham.  This one has been the source of much questioning as to who he was.  There are many who consider him to be a preincarnate appearance of Christ and there are those who consider him to be this historical king and priest.

The writers point is not that we debate who he is as much as we discover how he was greater than Abraham.  Abraham paid honor to him.  Jesus is greater still.

The writer mentions the Levitical priesthood.  Jesus came from the tribe of Judah which had no priest, but Jesus was a priest with an eternal priesthood.  He is greater still.

2.  Jesus gives us what not earthly priest could, eternal access to God, Vs: 11-19

Because of Christ continual priesthood you and I have permanent access to God.  His priesthood is indestructible.  When the Levitical priest died, his ministry was over and Israel would have to search for another priest to represent them before God.  When Christ was resurrected from the dead, man now had an indestructible priest.   His priesthood is forever.

This day, I chose to follow no earthly priest.  Be he either Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Catholic, or any other earthly priest, I will not follow.  I follow Christ who is greater still.  In Him we can draw near to God.

Brothers and sisters, rejoice in His life.  Yes, your life and my life could be tough today.  But we have the hope that we serve and indestructible God who is our hope.

“Awesome is God from his sanctuary, the God of Israel-he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.  Blessed be God!” Psalm 68:35

He Is The One (Hebrews 1:1-14)

October 17, 2012

“But in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, who he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”  Hebrews 1:2

Brothers and sisters there are seasons of life when it seems that one’s view of life can be difficult to maneuver through.  This was clear in my mind yesterday afternoon as I visited and older man in our church.  He will soon be 94.  His mind is sharp.  He was a Marine in WWII.  The Lord saved him when he was 8 years old.  As I sat on his couch, I was amazed at the wealth of Godly wisdom.  Out of all he said, here is what I took away, “Jesus is the one we must follow through all seasons of life.”

This morning we begin a study of the book of Hebrews.  The original recipients of this letter were Jews who were living in places of dispersion for their faith.  Most believe many were in Italy.  These Jewish believers were in danger of turning away from the faith and turning to unbelief.  The writer reminds them of who Jesus is and how that only in Jesus could they find rest and grace.

In chapter one we see Jesus as superior to everyone and everything.  Truly He is the one.  I challenge you to read this chapter and look for the following:

1.  Jesus is the last and best Word from God, Vs: 1-4

In times past God spoke through the prophets.  But now He is speaking through His Son.  Here the writer lists no less than seven truths about the best Word from God:  “heir of all things, creator of the world, radiance of God’s glory, exact imprint, controls the universe, offered payment for our sin, and sits on the throne.”  

Each of these truths emphasis even more the fact, “He is the one.”  Consider the parallel between Hebrews 1 and John 1:1-4.  He is the one!

2.  Jesus is superior to all of His creation, Vs: 5-14

Consider the following:  Angels were created, Jesus was the uncreated creator, Angels worship, Jesus is worshipped, Angles are ministers before the throne, Jesus is on the throne.  

He is clearly the one.  But the shock of all shocks is that God would call human beings to become joint heirs with His Son.  We are called to serve the One and then we are rewarded with status as one of His Sons.

Oh how I praise God in this season and every season of life.  May we all do the same.

How Can I Do This?

November 9, 2011

“It is He who remembered us in our low estate, for His steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for His steadfast love endures forever,” Psalm 136:23-24.

Question, “Have you every faced a decision or an assignment that left you asking the question,’how can I do this?”  Without a doubt there were many illustrations that just popped into your mind.  Most likely the one or ones you are facing now came first.  As I look back over my life and those moments when I asked, “how can I do this.”  I find myself at moments laughing at the silly ways I tried to handle life.  At other moments I want to cry because of the times when I failed so miserably in trying to handle life’s toughest moments. Still there are times when I shout for joy because in those moments I did it God’s way.

This morning I was reminded of the ups and downs of working through tough stuff as I traveled through Exodus 4-7.  Moses was a guy who, from the start, asked, “How can I do this?”  In Moses mind, His people would not listen to his instruction.  The fact is, the only experience Moses had with trying to lead people turned out terribly. 40 years earlier his countrymen would not listen. And now Moses is giving all the reasons why he could not lead God’s people.

Chapter 4 gives us God’s answer.  God promises to work miracles and to be with Moses as he speaks.  But for Moses this was not enough. The fact is Moses has not learned, at this point in his life, truly who our God really is and all that He can do.  In chapter 6 God reveals to Moses even more of who He is: “I am God almighty who has made a covenant with Israel and I will keep my covenant with a mighty outstretched hand.”  In the midst of chapter 6 we find these words: “I will redeem you…”

In every generation it is Christ alone who can redeem humanity.  As God was with Moses, so too will He be with us.  The people Moses was to lead could not understand how they could be free.  Here is God’s commentary, “Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery,” 6:9.

Consider what you just read only again.  The fact is, the people of Israel could not see their way out because they could not do it themselves. Oh how often, as I look back over my life, have I looked at the mountains before me and I said I can’t.  This very day I must cling to Christ alone.  Moses was discovering that only Christ could give Him the victory He so wanted.

Dear Father,

     I pray that all who read this today will turn away from trusting their own power.  May they chase, cling, and cry out to you.  May each of us share the stories of your mighty works with the world.  May your name become famous as you work in us, for us, and through us in accomplishing the impossible.  

Never Satisfied

March 16, 2011

“No matter what I do, you are never satisfied.”  These were the angry words spoken by a husband to his wife.  It seemed that she was never satisfied with what he did.  In his opinion, “She was never satisfied with anything in life.” Now whether this is true in their relationship, I do not know.  But here is what I do know, “The flesh is never satisfied.”

The fact is, “I made up the story of this couple for illustration.” However the truth of this story rings so loudly every day in humanity.  Consider the encounter Jesus had with a Samaritan woman in John 4.  She apparently was never satisfied in marriage, “For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband,” 4:18. When Jesus met her she was focusing on coming to the well in the center of her town to draw water so her immediate need would be met.  It is apparent that she is not satisfied with having to come.

Jesus figuratively speaks to her concerning this water she was not satisfied with, “The water that I give you will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life,” 4:13. Notice her problem with satisfaction, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here and draw water,” 4:15.

I hope you noticed that she is so consumed with her drive for satisfaction that she overlooks her eternal need and only focuses on her earthly need.  When I read this, I was deeply convicted by how often I only try to satisfy the earthly needs I have.  I often only pray about what I think I need and what I think others need around me.  But then I am reminded of my greater need and the greater need of the people I am praying for.

We are truly only satisfied when we are filled with Jesus.  When we are focusing on Jesus we understand His sufficiency in our lives.  He is sufficient for all that we need and He is sufficient for all our nows and all of our futures.

Question, “Are you satisfied with Jesus?”  If you are not, I am sure that your life is filled with things that only bring temporary satisfaction.  I am sure you are often let down when you reach your goals.  I am sure you are a person who often worries about how your needs are going to be met.  And finally I am sure you are not focusing on sharing Christ with others.

Only when we are satisfied with Jesus do we find ourselves in a place where we are sharing Christ.  It’s easy to share when you are satisfied, but it’s not easy to share when you are not satisfied.

Dear Father, May I be satisfied with you today!   Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever,” Psalm 136:26.