Thursday, May 30, 2013
“Benefits of Trust”
Psalm 71:4-6 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
Our thought from Psalm 71 today: The Benefits of Trust include Deliverance
1. Deliverance from the wicked—the pressures of the world around us (v. 4). The longer we live the more we see how this world lies in the lap of the wicked one. That causes believers to cry out for deliverance. It also reminds us that we are strangers and pilgrims here.
2. Deliverance is based on hope—hope that had been established in the heart of the Psalmist when he was very young—he had grown up in a family that had honored God (v. 5). We do not lay the foundations of our faith in our later years, we must lay them in childhood and youth. You do the right thing if today you have purposed in your heart to worship God Sunday to build on your foundation of faith. Also, you build that foundation as you daily set aside time to pray and read God’s Holy Word.
3. Deliverance even at birth causes the Psalmist to credit God for everything (v. 6). The Psalmist views birth as a form of deliverance. As the child struggles for freedom, being delivered from the prison of the womb is a cause for praise to the Lord.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
“Reasons for Trusting God to Provide our Protection”
Psalm 46:8-11—Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us, The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
For those who need to prove it themselves, go ahead and start with refuge and count back 46 words and you will find spear. The New King James kept this Psalm in the same form as the King James Version, the translators of which wished to honor William Shakespeare on his 46th birthday for his assistance in the project of translation. Two days ago we counted from the top and the 46th word was “shake.” We said earlier that “Selah” is a musical notation the exact meaning of which has not been determined—thus the word is untranslated.
And now—Reasons for Trusting God to Provide our Protection
A. Look at the Works of the Lord (vv. 8-9)
1. The citizens of the City of God (Jerusalem) are invited to view the remains of their enemies—speaking directly of the fact that an angel of the Lord slew all the army of Sennacherib in one night—all 185,000 were dead by morning. This could also speak of the victory of Christ over the nations at the final Battle of Armageddon (v. 8)
2. He Provides Peace by making All Wars to Cease (v. 9)
a. No matter how remote the tribe, Christ awes the people into rest
b. The great powers are crushed so that they cannot provoke strife again.
B. Look at the Person of the Lord (vv. 10-11)
1. Looking at the Awesome Power and Nature of God will bring complete silence by all of His enemies (v. 10) For us as believers, this verse—Be still, and know that I Am God—is a reminder to us to adore God and to let him lead. He does not need our help in making decisions. We need His help. So his instruction to us is “Be Still, and Know that I am God. We must listen and cease to fear, for God will assuredly maintain His own cause and honor. “Be still, apprehension! The whole world may be in a turmoil, but I am God, and I rule the whole world. Be still, impatience, I am God, and the times and seasons are in my power.”
2. Remembering the presence of God with us reminds us of a precious privilege that cannot be overlooked (v. 11) The Lord of hosts is with us is a truth of which no believer wearies, and it is a fact that is too often forgotten. God is with you today!
3. Here is a popular saying that reminds us that we need to be still, and let the great I AM speak.
I was regretting the past
And fearing the future
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
My Name is I AM. He paused. I waited. He continued,
When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, It is hard.
I am not there. My name is not I Was.
When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, It is hard. I am not there. My name is not I will be.
When you live in the moment. Its not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM.
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
Lt. General George S. Patton
Third Army, World War II
Memorial Day is a remembrance of those who have died on the battlefield to preserve our freedom. We are ever to be thankful for their sacrifice to allow us to be free. In an infinitely greater sense, Memorial Day must also cause us to remember the One who died on the greatest battlefield to set us free from sin and eternal death, and has brought to us eternal life.
This is a busy week with meetings each weekday starting tomorrow:
Tuesday—7 PM Ladies Missionary Society--one of those having part Tuesday--Theresa Pennie-- had a serious fall Sunday night, and your prayers are requested for her
Wednesday—7 PM Bible Institute and Prayer Meeting
Thursday—12:45 PM Departure for Cohen University & Theological Seminary to allow adu7lts to participate in our international seminar. I will teach a seminar at 2 PM on Covenant Theology; and Dr. Cohen will speak on “Israel and the Temple: Chronological and Prophetic” at 4 PM. Dinner will follow and we return about 7:45 PM to Glendale.
Friday—3 PM Graduation at Cohen University; 7:30 PM—Visitation (volunteers wanted) for Vacation Bible School
Sunday, June 2—10 AM Sunday School and Breakfast
11 AM Morning Worship with Dr. Cohen speaking on a Fresh Look at the Olivet Discourse
5:30 PM Dinner honoring our new deacons
6:30 PM Dr. Cohen speaking on Revelation chapters 4-8
“Assurance of Peace”
Psalm 46:4-7—There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Now . . . The Assurance of Peace and Safety for the People of God
A. The Source of our Security is Divine Grace that Smoothly Flows Like a River
(v. 4)—this is the river of the water of life, of which the church above as well as the church below partakes evermore. It is no boisterous ocean, but a placid stream, it is not stayed in its course by earthquakes or crumbling mountains, it follows its serene course without disturbance.
B. The Lord is with us in our distresses—He lives in our midst (v. 5). If you are attacked and you belong to God, then God is attacked, and He will respond. Our part is to be ever respectful of the fact that God is with us, as Moses was when he took off his sandals in the desert as he approached the Mountain of God.
C. The Battle between the City of God and the Heathen Nations (vv. 6-7)
1. The nations gather against the City of God like wolves ravenous for their prey, but the Lord of hosts (armies) defeats them.
2. The fact that the Lord is with us is the reason for Zion’s security, and for the overthrow of all the foes. The Lord rules the angels, the stars, the elements, and all the hosts of heaven; and the heaven of heavens are under his sway.
Psalm 46:1-3—God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, through the mountains SHAKE with its swelling. Selah
Dr. Gary Cohen, the only living translator of the New King James Bible, will be with us this coming week. He wrote a magazine article some time back on Psalm 46, stating it was Luther’s Psalm, and Shakespeare’s Psalm.
Psalm 46 is Luther's Psalm as it formed the basis for the hymn A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
And, it is “Shakespeare’s Psalm.”
At a funeral for one who lived at the Glen Terra Assisted Living where we do weekly church services, there was a lady who was a member of the Shakespeare Society. Several of the members were there, and so chose to speak on Psalm 46 as that is the only place in the Bible where we find encrypted the name of the only person honored for his work on the 1611 King James Version, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare turned 46 in 1610, and on his birthday was presented with a copy of Psalm 46. Told to count 46 words down he found the word “shake.” [Count the words at the top of this page and stop at SHAKE. ] Then, proceeding to the end of the Psalm and Shakespeare was told to count 46 words up (omitting the selah--a musical notation), and he found “spear.” What an honor.
Now, I know what you are wondering?
Does Dr. Cohen’s name appear in the New King James Version?
The answer is YES. Qualifying that, it is yes in the Hebrew text out of which the New King James was translated, in fact it is found hundreds of times—cohen is Hebrew for priest!
Now a few thoughts on "Tranquility Despite Turmoil"
A. God is our Refuge and Strength (v. 1)
1. Our armies and our fortresses do not provide security in a troubled world—the historical occasion for this is the time when Sennacherib came from Assyria to destroy Jerusalem. He had an army of 185.000—and had swept over all the nations of the Middle East—now coming to one of the tiniest, Judah, smaller than the size of San Bernardino County
2. God is a far better refuge from distress because the Lord is able to defeat all our foes. We are soldiers of the cross of Christ, who become safe and strong as we remember our allegiance to God.
B. If God is our Refuge, then we will not Fear (v. 2)
1. With God on our side, how irrational fear would be.
2. Even if the earth is removed (the basis of life as we know it), yet we still stand secure in God. There is no guarantee that bad things won’t happen, even if we try with all our might to keep them from happening. God is our refuge always.
That reminds me of a humorous story about a man on the streets of Belfast, Ireland, [where violence until just a few years ago has led to the deaths of many Protestants and Catholics]. He hoped to get home safely without being attacked. Suddenly, a dark figure jumped out of the shadows and grabbed him around the neck. He stuck the point of a knife against his throat and asked, “Catholic or Protestant? Seized with panic the man reasoned to himself, "If I say Catholic and he is Protestant—whoosh! If I say Protestant and he is Catholic, I’m a goner. " Then he thought of a way out. He said, "I’m Jewish." The assailant chuckled, “Ha, then I am the luckiest Muslim terrorist ever to work the streets of Belfast.”
C. The Tumult of the World is an Evidence of Sin (v. 3)
1. Sin troubles the waters, and brings a storm of fury
2. The believer knows that the Lord stills the raging of the sea, and holds the waves in the hollow of his hand—evil may ferment, wrath may boil, and pride may foam, but the brave heart of holy confidence trembles not.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Psalm 43:2-3: For You are the God of my strength; why do You cast me off? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle.
II. Second Outlook Change: Stop Looking at the Past and Start Looking at the Future!
A. The Problem: Dwelling on the Past leads to Depression (Psalm 42:6)
1. The past must not be an anchor to hold us back, but rather a rudder to guide us.
2. Example of the right use of the past: Moses urged Israel to remember their bondage in Egypt to keep them from forsaking God.
B. The Solution: “Hope in God” (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5)
1. The meaning of hope—The Christian’s hope is a guarantee that the future is secure. Our hope is not in ourselves, or in our circumstances, but rather in the living Christ.
2. Sources of Hope from the Psalmist (43:1-4)
a. God will one day defeat the enemy and give victory (43:1)—God is the judge of all the earth and He will do what is right (Genesis 18:25)
b. God’s presence and protection bring hope (43:2)—we need not mourn when God is with us to be our strength / Hope delivers us from despair and enables us to tackle even the most menial job. Elmer Bendiner was a B-17 bomber pilot flying over Germany in the latter days of World War II. His plane was hit several times by shells, and even being hit in the fuel tank. The bomber did not explode. He landed, and they removed the shells.. The shells were dismantled, and to the amazement of everyone, all were empty--no explosives. Inside of one shell was a note written in Czech. Translated, it read, This is all we can do for you now. A member of the Czech underground working in a German munitions factory, had omitted the explosives in the shells on his assembly line. That worker had the hope that his efforts would make a difference in the outcome of the war, and they did.
c. God’s direction in our lives (43:3)—when we are discouraged or depressed we make wrong decisions in our lives because we did not wait on the Lord to lead
d. God as our joy brings hope (43:4)—find our joy in Him, in His Word, and He brings hope in the worst circumstances
Our only help for the present and hope for the future is God. As Christians, we have a “living hope” (I Peter 1:3), a blessed hope (Titus 2:13), and a reasonable hope (I Peter 3:15).
More on Psalm 42 & 43 tomorrow . . .
Beginning a Study of Psalm 42 and Psalm 43
Psalm 42:1-8--As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, Where is your God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast. Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. o my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me--a prayer to the God of my life.
A retired missionary who was trying to make ends meet received a crisp new ten dollar bill in a letter. She was surprised, but as she read the letter her eyes were distracted by the movement of a shabbily dressed stranger leaning in front of the building. Thinking he might be in greater financial stress than she, she slipped the bill in an envelope on which she penned “Don’t despair.” The man tipped his hat, and smiled. The next day he showed up at the door and handed her 60 dollars. “Why?” He replied: Don’t Despair paid five to one. Well now that was the name of a horse. But I want you to see the reality of hope today. There was a man on a raft for almost eighty days. The thing that kept the man alive after his ship sunk was hope. His lowest days were when he could see no hope and he could not see the possibility of being rescued or making it to the islands or coming into the shipping lanes and being found by one of the vessels on the trade routes. His hope kept him alive. Someone has said: “We can live forty days without food, eight days without water, four minutes without air, but only a few seconds without hope.”
As we approach Psalm 42 and 43, think over these questions:
1. Can a Christian be discouraged or depressed?
2. Are their examples in the Bible of believers who were discouraged?
3. What does an unsaved person normally do to overcome discouragement?
Psalms 42 & 43 point the way to hope & victory over discouragement and depression. The Psalmist suggests that some radical changes in outlook on life must take place. Today, we will give some practical reflections on the text as we consider one outlook change:
I. First Outlook Change: Stop looking within yourself and start looking at God!
A. The Problem: The Psalmist was looking at himself to solve his problems (42:1-7)
1. Note 51 personal pronouns (“I” 14 times, “me” 16 times, and “my” 21 times)
2. Depression had occurred because his feelings had not been relieved (42:3). Perhaps you have heard The psalm in a hotel room:
I’m alone Lord, alone, a thousand miles from home. There’s no one here who knows my name except the clerk and he spelled it wrong, no one to eat dinner with laugh at my jokes, listen to my gripes, be happy with me about what happened today, and say that’s great. Non one cares. There’s just this lousy bed and slush in the street outside between the buildings. I feel sorry for myself and I’ve plenty of reason to. Maybe I ought to say I’m on top of it, praise the Lord things are great but they’re not. Tonight it’s all gray slush.
3. Discouragement had come because his plans had not been fulfilled (42:4). A 65 year-old recently retired man was sitting on his porch in Kentucky waiting for his social security check. It came and then he thought that is all I am going to do now for the rest of my life. He was discouraged, but since he was a Christian he took a pad of paper and began writing down all the gifts, all the blessings, all the talents, and everything he had going for him at age 65. He even included his mother’s recipe for fried chicken in which she used eleven different herbs and spices. Then he thought, I could go to the little restaurant in town and ask if they could use a cook, and I could cook my mother’s chicken. It soon was the most popular item on the menu, and he opened his own restaurant in this small town, and I have been to that little restaurant. Several years later, he sold that restaurant and the chain of restaurants started to a big corporation for millions of dollars, and then served as their public representative. His name was Harlan Sanders, and the company he sold was KFC. With hope placed firmly in God, discouragement becomes victory.
4. Frustration occurred as questions were not answered (42:5-7)
The Psalmist admits that he was so busy looking at himself that he forgot to look at God. This even happened to Elijah (I Kings 19:4). There are times when we should examine ourselves, but it is dangerous to do that too much. Even nature’s beauty failed to give the Psalmist peace as he was drowning in his own trials and troubles (42:6-7)
B. The Solution: Daily look at God and to God (42:8)
1. When Jesus looked at nature, He saw the Father’s love and care (Matt. 6:24-34)
2. The Psalmist finally remembers that God is with Him day and night, and that God must truly be the “God of my life.” (42:8)
The most important thing about any difficult experience is not that we get out of it, but what we get out of it. If we are thirsting after God, and not just His help and deliverance, then the experience that could cause us depression will actually build us up. Instead of complaining, we will be praying and praising God. Life will not be a mirror in which we see only ourselves, it will be a window through which we see God. And this starts at conversion. John Wesley accepted Christ with some Moravians, and yet he did not have the joy that he felt he should have. He knew he was saved by faith in Christ, but the joy he saw in others was not his. He eventually went to Germany to study with the brethren there, and it was there that the joy of the Lord became his strength. It was there that he let go of being self-centered—how does it all help me, to being God centered—serving God brought the joy.
It will for you also. More tomorrow on Psalm 42 & 43 . . .
Monday, May 20, 2013
Passage: Psalm 37
“Abundant Living Exampled”
Psalm 37:1-2--Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
A. “Fret Not” means that we do not worry!
We should never be envious of those who do wrong or fear evil men, because we have died to this world and are always alive to God—we transcend this earth (vs. 1)
Psalm 37:3--Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
B. “Trust” in the Lord brings peace of heart!
We will do good when we trust in the Lord because that shows our attitude toward this sin cursed world has changed. When we trust we will have that which is so desired by the world—peace of heart. David explains that for Him it means to dwell in the Promised Land and enjoy safety from all that would seek to destroy that peace (vs. 3).
Psalm 37:4-- Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
C. “Delight in the Lord will bring abundance!
When we let God know that our supreme delight is to be found in Him, He will shower us with those right things that we desire. This is the “more abundantly” of John 10:10. God wants to treat us like a kingdom of priests and a royal nation, but we need to “delight” ourselves in the King of that nation (vs. 4)
Psalm 37:5-6-- Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday.
D. “Commit” your way keeps you living the abundant life
Committing our way to the Lord means that you make a definite decision to plant yourself firmly in the plan of God for your life. The abundance that awaits here is that righteousness will shine from your life and all that you do will be characterized by justice (vv. 5-6)
Psalm 37:7-- Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
E. “Rest” and “Wait” come when you trust—that is abundant living!
The world is not at rest, but is like the restless sea waves that slap at each other foolishly. When the world’s schemes succeed, we do not have to worry. All we have to do is wait patiently—the victory is won on the Cross, and Christ is delivering us and will continue to deliver! (v. 7)
Psalm 32:6-11 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to you in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him. You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
You can be forgiven. You can be healed. You can be freed. How do we confess? How do we uncover ourselves? Let's now go over that process of confession that we mentioned yesterday:
First, we uncover our sins by being honest. Do not deceive yourself anymore. Do not deceive others. Ask God to help you. Pray Psalm 139 to God. Ask God to search your heart. Ask him to test you, to know your anxious thoughts, and to see if there is any offensive way in you. Then ask him to lead you into the way everlasting. Be honest.
Second, you need to uncover your motivations. Confession and repentance is more than just admitting sinful behavior. Don’t just say: God I did wrong. You have to dig deep and ask why you do the things you do. The answer always is not simply that you broke a rule. The answer always is that you are looking to something else for covering. It is not just, I lied. But why did you lie. Were you looking for someone else’s approval that is more important than God so you lied. Uncover your motivations and repent. We do not have peace with God or with one another because we have not felt the results of confession and repentance in our own lives. Repentance is a fierce determination not to sin because you are submitting your will to God. You say, God I want you to reign in me. Do you have jealousy or hatred toward another person? That may hurt them but it sure hurts your relationship with the Father. That was I believe the one reason John Calvin wanted to retain communion every Sunday rather than monthly which is what he ultimately established for the churches. Why, because you are not to take communion without first making things right with those who have hurt you or whom you have wronged.
Third, uncover your pride. The book of James talks about the power of confessing your sins to one another so they can pray for you so that you can be healed. A time was held for people to come into the church, write down their confessions and attach them to a cross all folded up with no name on them. One six year old was given a paper and wrote in big block letters, God, I’m sorry because I lie. He put it on the very front of the cross with his name on it too, and he did not fold it. In questioning from his parents, he said: I wrote my name on it cause I want everyone to see it. If they know it was me, maybe they can help me stop.
You see, confession breaks pride, the root of all our sin. To stand there before another Christian as a sinner is an almost unbearable disgrace. But by confessing actual sins, the old self dies a painful humiliating death before the eyes of another Christian.
Fourth, put on Christ. Confessing to another believer is scary, but there is no reason to fear if you understand that God is your hiding place. God is the one who will protect you from trouble. I do not have to try to protect myself. God will surround you with songs of deliverance and hope and salvation. Do you really believe the promise that his grace is enough for you? Do you believe His Word when he says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and He is merciful and He is compassionate and He is just and He will forgive your sins? He will forgive you and He will purify you from all unrighteousness.
Do you believe His truth? Do you believe He loves you? Do you believe He can save you, heal you, cleanse you, restore you, redeem you, and cover you? God talks about His heart and how He relates to His people in Ezekiel 16. At the root of his heart is the desire to show mercy and compassion. At the root of his heart is the desire to save, cleanse, heal, cover, and make you beautiful. Listen to Ezekiel 16:4-6, 8-14.
We are covered in Christ. Verses 6-11 highlight the benefits and blessings of confession. Read them over one more time. God bless you and may this great Psalm be a “life changer” for each of us!
Psalm 32:1-2: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
This is an incredible promise. God says that no matter what your sin is—no matter how ugly, how deep, how big or small—if you confess and uncover and repent, he will cover you. The Bible is filled with metaphors and allusions to being covered and clothed by God.
In Isaiah 61:10, we read: I rejoice for you have clothed me in the garments of salvation and wrapped me with robes of righteousness.” There is a direct reference to Genesis 3 when God brought clothing for Adam and Eve. We find a similar analogy in Zechariah 3. Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, Take off his filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua: “See, I have taken away your sin and I will put fine garments on you.” This is what the Lord alone can do for us!
You do not have to try to cover yourself. You cannot. If you open yourself to God, if you are honest, and transparent, if you lay bare your heart, he will cover you. He will make you beautiful again.
How can God promise us that? How can God do this? Paul tells us in Romans 4:4-8, quoting Psalm 32. Check out that passage in your Bible.
To the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness for the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
God can do this because His covering is not a cover-up. God actually puts them somewhere. He accounts them to someone else. Where? Who? The Bible says Jesus was clothed, in a sense, with our sin. He was stripped naked. Why do you think the Scriptures make such a point that they cast lots for his garment? Why is it important that his garments were removed? It is to show us he was made naked so that you and I could be clothed. He was put to shame so that we could be clothed by his blood in grace with the righteousness of God. That is the truth. Confession and repentance are powerful because, through the blood of Christ, we are covered by His grace. You can be forgiven. You can be healed. You can be freed. How do we confess? How do we uncover ourselves? Tomorrow, we will conclude with a biblical process that speaks to this.