29 August 2011
There is a lot happening around the world today or has happened! It’s a very busy place, a tragic place to be a part of these days! TAKE FOR EXAMPLE:
• The problems in the Middle East
• The social and governmental structure of Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Chile, even the United States of America with their financial debt problem!
• The destruction of cities through war and rioting [England being one of them]
• Terrorism from religious and social groups [Especially after witnessing 9/11 nearly 10years ago] or the gang activity across Canada at this moment with the latest killings in BC, Winnipeg and Montreal.
The power of water and the devastation it leaves behind in the after math! The Philippians that killed thousands and thousands of people.....Japan......the South when Hurricane Katrina hit.
• The amazing power found in earthquakes and the ripple effect it leaves to those in its path! The nation Haiti was almost completely destroyed structurally. Japan which lead to the massive Tsunami that totalled many cities!
We all go about our day to day lives as everything is ok! But when something happens what is the number one response the world tends to do when something of this magnitude happens Panic, pandemonium, fear, doubt, confusion, sadness.......and sadly the end result is a life that has no hope! I don’t know what’s worse! The actual event of devastation that is taking place. Or to see the defeat in the people around you as they go through this! Because you realize they have no hope! What’s worse, is to see Christians following suit with the world when it comes to these kinds of situations in life! God has not given us a spirit of fear but of sound mind and a hope in eternal things! Paul said to Timothy “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” The Bible also says “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" Rom 8:15. Jesus said “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28
Jesus also said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” David penned these words “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Ps 27:1. Do you remember what Jesus said after the rich man walked away weeping "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matt 19:26. So we can say with the Hebrew writer “......The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" Heb 13:6. Why? This is where we [Christians] put our hope and trust into...the sovereign hands of Almighty God. The only place where a person will ever find refuge and strength in times of troubles or distresses. We have the Holy Spirit to keep us focused when we are faced with trials and tribulations. I truly believe this! Why? This is one thing that helped our family when we were faced with the unknown on Monday afternoon! We would be the first to say I never saw this coming or that we would ever expect this happen [especially after having 4 health pregnancies] to us! The same goes for any tragedy...... except if you live on the coast or in a highly known area of natural disasters! But, no matter what situation God puts you though you can always find refuge in Him. See by definition refuge means........ Shelter or protection from danger or distress.
A strong hold which protects by its strength, or a sanctuary which secures safety by its sacredness; any place inaccessible to an enemy. According this Psalm it literally means, “a place of trust” As the Psalmist says He is sufficient in circumstance! (v1) “a very present help in trouble” This is a blessed promise of God’s divine providence in our lives! “The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Ps 9:9. Paul Tripp wrote this great reminder of what it means to be safely put into the arms of God!
When I'm Weary and exhausted
When I'm Confused and discouraged
When I'm Fickle and unfaithful
When I'm Doubtful and disheartened
When I'm Fearful and anxious
When I'm Short-sighted and fearful
When I'm Tired and about to quit
When I'm Lacking in hope and love
When I'm Shocked and surprised
When I'm Angrily withholding grace
When I'm Unfaithful to what I've promised
When I'm Selfish and disloyal
Oh, Lord of Faithfulness and grace
I am so thankful That In those moments
When I'm Losing my way
God is always there! This is what it means when the Psalmist says “he is our refuge” So my question to you and me is......Do you believe this? Because this Psalm brings great comfort and joy to the Christian heart! It brings great comfort to me! I want to leave you with something to ponder this week about what it means to be under His sovereign care.
1. WE FIND REFUGE IN HIS NAME
Prov 18:10“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”
2. WE FIND REFUGE IN HIS SOVEREIGN PROTECTION
Ps 18:2 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
3. WE FIND REFUGE IN HIS POWER TO ACCOMPLISH THE UNTHINKABLE
Jer 32:17 “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”
4. WE FIND REFUGE IN HIS ETERNAL PROMISES
1 John 2:24-25 “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us--eternal life.”
5. WE FIND REFUGE IN HIS FAITHFULNESS
Heb 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
What does it mean to be gripped by God? That a Christian [a child of the living God] can find a deep rooted joy and comfort when we are facing a world that looks like its spiralling out of control! This is where I find comfort! Because it’s not spiralling out of control! The world is moving perfectly and its doing exactly what He wants it too by His sovereign hand.This reminds of the story Ravi Zacharias told when he personal experienced God’s sovereign hand of protection.......He said this “I was in Vietnam in the early seventies. Four missionaries and I were in a Land Rover driving from Dalat to Saigon. It was a full day's journey with detours and roadblocks. As we entered a rather long and desolate stretch, one of the missionaries warned, "We are now entering the most dangerous part of the country." No one said anything. All of a sudden, the engine began to sputter, chug, choke, and die. There we were, stranded, with nothing except the woods in sight. We tentatively stepped out of the car, warily looking left and right. As we stood on the side of the road, a white jeep approached. Relieved that someone could help us, we waived white handkerchiefs and our arms, pleading for him to stop. The driver just swerved away from us and sped along. But fifteen minutes later...somehow...our car started again. We don't know how it got "fixed," our driver simply turned the key and the Land Rover roared from its slumber. We all jumped in and drove off. We had not driven but a few hundred yards around a bend in the road when we saw the white jeep overturned, ambushed and four bloodied bodies motionless on the roadside. We were numb. The stunned look in each of our eyes told the story. Thank God for our breakdown or that would have been us.”
GOD IS AWESOME! And He is our shelter in times of storm and as Isaiah said in chapter 40! “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isa 40:28-31. Please remember that! Especially when you are faced with the question why LORD? Or when the world is crumbing all around you! He is our ever present shelter and refuge.....NEVER FORGET THAT!
12 August 2011
Thank You Lord for the gift of eternal life through your Son Jesus Christ! Undeserving that I am, You bought me with Your life on the Cross and Your resurrection from the grave.........So I will praise His holy name [Jesus]until my last breath! Because He is worth dying for!.........."For I'am not ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL.." Rom 1:16....SDG
Coldness and lukewarmness in the ways of God, are peculiarly offensive to our Lord and Savior; for if anyone deserves our whole hearts, if anyone ought to have the whole of our energies--it is Jesus! We should be zealous for the truth of the gospel.
It is God's mind.
It is the revelation of the Savior's love.
It is the remedy for the sinner's woes.It is the charter of the Church's privileges.
It is dear to God's heart.
It is watched over with a jealous eye.
It should be prized as inestimably valuable.
It is . . .the mirror, in which God is seen; the map, on which our road is marked out; the law, by which our duty is made plain! "That they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in everything!" Titus 2:10. We should zealously adorn the Gospel. Not by the tinsel of human eloquence--but by a consistent and holy walk. We ought to be living expositions of the truth! In our conduct--the nature and tendency of the Gospel ought to be seen!
By our meekness and gentleness,
by our fidelity and prudence,
by our self-denial and benevolence,
by our temperance and brotherly kindness,
by our patience and fervent love--we ought to adorn the most holy truth of God!
God calls for it. The Gospel is calculated to produce it!
By James Smith
06 August 2011
How Do We Know If We Love Christ? This is really a good question to ask ourselves! J. C. Ryle writes..........
1.If we love a person, we like to think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
2.If we love a person, we like to hear about him. We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. We feel an interest in any report which others make of him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
3.If we love a person, we like to read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to a wife, or a letter from an absent son to his mother... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
4.If we love a person, we like to please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions, to act upon his advice and do the things which he approves... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
5.If we love a person, we like his friends. We are favorably inclined to them, even before we know them. We are drawn to them by the common tie of common love to one and the same person... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
6.If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honor. We do not like to hear him spoken against, without speaking up for him and defending him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
7.If we love a person, we like to talk to him. We tell him all our thoughts, and pour out all our heart to him. We find no difficulty in discovering subjects of conversation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
8.Finally, if we love a person, we like to be always with him. Thinking and hearing and reading and occasionally talking are all well in their way. But when we really love people we want something more... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!
03 August 2011
What is the one thing a great majority of us have done to tell someone else about who we are? The Answer: A RESUME! See, resumes are very important especially if you’re applying for a job. Resumes give information about the character of an individual. Resumes help the employer to make the right decisions when it comes to hiring the best person for the job. Resumes are like a short biography of your life experiences and abilities. What I’m trying to get at is when I read this Psalm...... I see something amazing God! I see God’s awesome resume. Take for example! From this Psalm alone I can see that God is:
• Great in every way (v1)
• Commendable in all that He does (v1)
• Consecrated and worthy of honor(v2)
• Unsearchable because He is so big(v3)
• Magnificent in His character (v5)
• Awesome (v6)
• Blameless in all His doings(v7)
• Graceful and compassionate to all(v8)
• Calm and collective when dealing with His creation (v8)
• Considerate to those who call upon His name(v9)
• Mighty an powerful to get the job done (v11-v12)
• Strong tower for our souls(v14)
• Sufficient for all our needs (v16)
• Omniscient in every way (v18)
• Preserves the faithful with His faithfulness (v20-v21)
That’s an awesome resume wouldn't you say? Now, look at your resume! How does your resume stand it comparison to God’s awesome resume? Let’s be honest..... Not to good right! So let me ask you this question Who are you going to put your trust in then? Yourself or God? Because God, is great, abounding, glorious, perfect, strong, mighty, satisfying and most of all faithful in all His doings from generation to generation. You and I on the other hand are prone to doubt, worry, panic, become bitter, resentful, and forgetful, lazy, and lack patience to name a few. Sadly though, all these character traits ultimately lead to a lack of faith which always gives birth to SIN. A lack of faith will always bring us to a place that we doubt God’s awesome resume.
Take the disciples for example! The disciples are in a boat in the middle of a storm........Jesus is sleeping in the boat He is tired from all the miracles and ministering that He has been doing. What did the men say to Jesus in the boat “Lord, save us! We are perishing.” (Matt 8:25). What was Jesus’ response after waking Him up from probably a good sleep? “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith.” (v26). There was another time shortly after this incident that the disciples were in a very similar pickle, found in Matt 14:25-33. The only difference is that the disciples are without Jesus this time! They just finished witnessing one of the greatest miracles ever! The feeding the five thousand. Jesus told them to get into the boat and cross the Sea of Galilee. Again, they are in a storm that could end their discipleship program with Jesus. They see Jesus walking on the water and Peter cries out “Lord, if it’s You command me to come to You” so what’s Jesus response? “Come” (v29).....But what happens? Peter see’s the waves crashing around him and he begins to sink and cries out “Lord save me” (v30). Again Jesus to the rescue and these are the words that followed as Jesus helped him back into the boat “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v31). A lack of faith will always give birth to doubt and SIN! John MacArthur said “For some reason, we think of doubt and worry as "small" sins. But when a Christian displays unbelief...or an inability to cope with life, he is saying to the world, "My God cannot be trusted," and that kind of disrespect makes one guilty of a fundamental error, the heinous sin of dishonouring God. That is no small sin.” What did the Hebrew writer pen? “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Heb 11:6.
See, faithfulness in God’s resume will always lead to joy.....peace......understanding and perseverance. Take the resume of godly a man named George Mueller, a missionary who lived by one thing.......faith! He and his best friend, Henry Craik, founded the Scriptural Knowledge Institution in Bristol, England, with one of their prime objectives being to establish Orphan Homes for the many homeless children in Great Britain. Mueller and Craik had no money, nor did they intend to ask anyone for it: they believed that God would provide everything they needed - without patronage, without requests for contributions and without debts. All they had to do was pray, and God would provide. For 64 years, that was how George Mueller operated. In that course of time, he built The Orphanage campus at Ashley Down, where he cared for and educated over 18,000 children; educated over 100,000 more in other schools at the Orphanage's expense; distributed hundreds of thousands of Bibles and tens of millions of religious tracts; supported about 150 missionaries; travelled over 200,000 miles as a missionary himself; and shared the Gospel with over 3 million people around the world. And in all that time, he never asked for one penny from anyone, his children never missed a meal, and he never had a debt. Once, when there was no food to give the children and it was almost lunch time, one of Mueller's assistants came to him, worried. Mueller said, "It's not twelve o'clock yet." Just then, a truck pulled up to the orphanage loaded with food from an unsolicited donor. Often, Mueller had no idea where their next meal was coming from: he just trusted God's promises. Another time, when Mueller was onboard a ship that was lost in fog, he comforted the anxious captain by saying, "My eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, who controls every circumstance of my life." They came out of the fog, and that captain later gave his life to Christ. George Mueller was totally dependent on God. That was how he wanted it. He wanted people to see that God was faithful and could be trusted. He once said, "I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith." His life certainly exemplified that. He wrote "There was a day when I died, utterly died: died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends. And since then, I have studied only to show myself 'approved unto God.'"
GOD IS AWESOME! God is so awesome.......He is always faithful, not only in the big things, but also in the little things of life! God is so awesome.......He greatly concerned and involved in your life whether you believe it or not...... I remember a time when our pastor back in Ontario told my wife and me the story while he was at Dallas Theological Seminary as we were preparing to leave for ministry. There was time when he and his wife had nothing to eat! They lived in a small one bedroom apartment. The only thing they had was a couple pieces of bread and a bottle of ketchup left in the cupboards! But they accepted their present circumstance.........Allen, was about to pray and give thanks when all of a sudden there was a knock at the door! His next door neighbour had this massive plate of spaghetti asked if they could use this because they were invited out for dinner by visiting friends. They gladly accepted the gift; sat down and gave thanks to God for His faithfulness by providing for a need [not a want]. This is why God’s resume is so awesome! He is always faithful and worthy to trusted at all times
• Whether your life is tough right now
• Whether you lost a loved one naturally or tragically.
• Whether you are battling cancer or another life threatening illness
• Whether you’re out of work and see no hope for the future.
• Whether you finances do not equal out according to you.
• Whether your marriage is on the rocks and it seems like divorce is around the corner.
• Whether your child has gone astray and living with the pigs.
• Whether your husband or wife have lost their fire for Christ.
• Whether your life seems to be a living train wreck that seems impossible to recover.
• Whether you feel alone and god seems distant.................................God is faithful
Look at some of the wonderful examples we find in the Scriptures! Job the oldest letter in the bible..... Job said “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21. Abraham when he said “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” Gen 22:8 Joseph “you meant it for evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Gen 50:20. David from what we read in this Psalm. Elijah a man of faithful prayer. Habakkuk “the just shall live by faith” Hab 2:4. The Centurion and his ill servant......”Jesus said “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Luke 7:9. The blind man from birth “Jesus said...Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshipped Him.” John 9:35-38. The apostle Paul “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20. You and I when He grabbed a hold of our lives through His wonderful grace found in His salvation.
Faithfulness will always bring about contentment and joy even in the midst of struggle....even in the midst of sorrow.....even in the midst of suffering. As David says in (v14- v16) It’s a faithfulness in His resume because He is Great and worthy of praise. Great is the Lord.........there are no mistakes to God’s providential plan when it comes to His sanctified children. He is so faithful He cares for you! Remember what Jesus said to His disciples? Let this not be true with us here today or the next. Jesus said to His disciples in the Gospel of Matthew something profound and a truth that we can hold on to even in a time like this here in Manitoba. ( Turn to Matthew’s gospel chapter 6). So let me ask you the hard question! DO YOU BELIEVE JESUS? The Christian faith is an active life that has been transformed by the Gospel which leads to a committed life unto Jesus Christ by Obedience. The Christian faith isn’t mere Intellectual exercise that we do from time to time. The only way to find victory to sin of doubt and lack of faith, is to seek the Lord and His righteousness, not the worlds or from looking within. James said in his letter “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally (bountifully) and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). This only comes when God allows trials to come into our lives.
• It only comes through walking by faith.
• It only comes by trusting in who Jesus claimed to be “GOD”
• It only comes by seeking His Word for answers, not the world.
• It only comes when we put our trust in His resume.
I like what Hudson Taylor says “I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." As Jeremiah said “'Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You." (Jer 32:17). Don’t doubt what you cannot control! Seek the Kingdom and not your own understanding. May we never doubt the sovereign protection of our Lord and God? May we take this passage of scripture and grow from our mistakes, and learn to apply the wisdom from this passage to strengthen our faith in the living God. “The God who knows you best knows the best for you.” Woodroll Kroll. God is awesome and so is His resume! He will provide and prevail every time no matter how uncertain your situation might seem! (v14-v16) But! It comes down to this one question.........DO YOU TRUELY BELIEVE HIS RESUME OR DO YOU BELEIVE HE CAN’T BE TRUSTED?