Monthly Archives: February 2014

HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES – Part 4

Psalm 27:1-6

Verses 5-6 OUR COMFORT IN THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE

In verse 5 God Has A Sheltered Place For Us – David tells us that the Lord will hide him in His pavilion. A king’s pavilion was a tent that erected in the middle of the army’s encampment. The tent was then surrounded by an army of brave soldiers. With all the host of the army camped about, the king’s pavilion was the safest place on the battlefield. Those who were fortunate enough to be allowed to enter the king’s pavilion were protected by the soldiers and entertained by the king during the battle! The word “hide” means “to treasure away.”

As the battles of life rage about us, we are safely tucked away in our King’s pavilion. The Bible tells us that “your life is hid with Christ in God”, Col. 3:3! Could there be a safer place in all the universe? Of course not! Those who have entered His pavilion are protected by Him and, even while the battles rage around them, they are entertained with the peace and joy of the King Himself.  This is promise to those who will abide in that close place! No enemy can penetrate the defenses and enter this private place. It is protected from the enemy!

The assurance of His sheltering place allows us to weather the storms of life with hope. This was what allowed David to face Goliath. This was the confidence that kept Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. This was the assurance that gripped the heart of Daniel! This was the knowledge that allowed Paul to continue, even when he suffered greatly, 2 Cor. 12:7-11.  

Verse 5 God Has A Secret Place For Us – The word “tabernacle” brings to mind the place of worship. The “secret” refers to the “holy of holies”. That place which was off limits to all but the High Priest, and he could only enter there one day per year and the only with the blood of an innocent sacrifice. It was a place that other men entered under the penalty of death. 

Yet it is that secret place, to which God takes His precious friends. The Holy of Holies was a place where the very presence of God dwelt and the glory of God could be seen. It was there that God took David during the battles of his life. It was there David found himself shut up with God and shut off from the world around him. 

In a king’s home, this place referred to the private apartment of the king.  It was a place no one could enter unless they did so at his bidding. To do otherwise invited instant death.  The word “hide” means “to conceal”.

It is amazing that there is a place of solitude in a world filled with people. There is a place that you and I can flee to during the crushing battles that rage about us. A place that affords us quiet, peace and the profound presence of God. Those who have learned to abide in Him have been to that place and know the glory of it. It is a place where the enemy dares not follow. It is a place reserved for those who love the Lord their God. Have you ever been to that place? That place where God meets with you and you alone. That place where all else falls away and you are left with Him and Him alone? That is the place He invites those who abide to enter!

Stephen was in that place at the moment of his death, Acts 7:55-56! Paul was in that place during his life, 2 Cor. 12:1-4; Acts 27:23. It is possible for us to enter that sacred, secret place where the world dims away and God becomes larger than everything else!

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HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES – Part 3

Psalm 27:1-6

He Is Committed To Loving The Lord – David wants to “behold the beauty of the Lord.” That is, he wants to “seek His face.” You see, not only is David committed to being where the Lord is; but he is also committed to worshiping the Lord. That is a worthy goal for life!

This should be the goal of every believer as well. If we are going to worship the Lord, we are going to have to do it His way. Jesus told us how to worship in John 4:24. As we yield to the Spirit of God and worship God for Who He is as He is revealed in the Word of God, we will be engaged in the business of loving Him. How long has it been since you just loved on the Lord?

He Is Committed To Leaning On The Lord – David also expresses his desire to call upon the Lord; to commune with God; and to make requests of God. This is another image of worship. David here declares his utter dependence upon the Lord for the necessities of life.  David looks beyond his own abilities and sees the limitless provisions of the Lord. Therefore, he wants nothing more than to be able to call upon the Lord.

My, what a limitless resource we have been given in prayer! We are invited to pray, Jer. 33:3; Matt. 11:28. We are promised that God will hear and answer our prayers, Isa. 65:24; John 14:13-14; John 16:23-24. Therefore, let us also learn to lean upon Him! Instead of worry and fear, let us learn to turn to the Lord.  He will see to our needs, Phil. 4:6-7; 19. He will never fail us nor will He ever turn us away empty-handed, Matt. 7:7-11.

Our commitment to Him provides hope in the day of our battles. As we Linger near Him; Love on Him and Lean on Him, we can have the absolute confidence that He will see to our needs and to the things that would cause us to worry.

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HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES – Part 2

Psalm 27:1-6

Verse 2-3 Confidence In The Performance Of The Lord – David declares that his present hope in the Lord rests upon that which the Lord has done for him in the past. God did not fail him then, and He will not fail His child today.

That same confidence is ours today!  The God we serve is unchangeable, Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8. He is the same God with the same power that He has always been. He has never and He will never change. Because He has been faithful in the past, we can count on His being faithful now.

Think of all the things He has done; the victories He has won; the enemies He has vanquished; the mountains He has moved; the victories He has won. Think on these things and remember that the God who performed countless wonders in the past is still that same God today!  That should give His people hope!

In verse 4 OUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE

Not only does living with our faith give us hope; but also living faithful to the Lord provides a measure of hope that cannot otherwise exist.  David mentions three goals in this verse. These three goals all arise from a single commitment to serve the Lord faithfully from a heart of love. Notice how David’s commitment to the Lord manifests itself.

He Is Committed To Lingering Near The Lord – David wants to spend his entire life in the house of the Lord.  He wants to be in that place where the Lord dwells and where the Lord’s presence is real. This is a theme David repeated in Psalm 84:1-4.  There, David envies the little birds that make their nests around the tabernacle. They can be near the house of God all the time, while David cannot. He has a desire to be where God is; to be in that place where God is worshiped and honored. That is his heartbeat.

That ought to be our desire as well.  We need that same passion to be where the Lord is honored and where He is worshiped. Of course, we have the church and we are commanded to be in attendance, Heb. 10:25. But, I think there ought to be a desire to find that place of closeness and intimacy with the Lord. We can have that place where we can linger in His presence all the days of our lives. 

If there is a genuine desire to be near Him, it will manifest itself in clear action. There will be a commitment to prayer and to the study of the Word of God. There will be a commitment to public and private worship. Those who want to linger near the Lord will find a way.  And, when we make a move toward Him, He will make a move toward us, James 4:8.

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HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR CHALLENGES

Psalm 27:1-6

Martin Luther said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”

Here is how the dictionary describes hope. “to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.”

Hope from the world’s viewpoint is just what that definition describes.  The world sees hope as a wish or a desire. Hope for the world is a longing for something that may or may not take place.

The Bible teaches us a vastly different definition of hope. The words of Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is,” Jer. 17:7.  Hear also Paul, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity,” 1 Cor. 13:13. The world says that hope is merely a fond wish or desire. But, the words used for hope in the Bible tell a different story. 

They teach us that hope is “A deep settled confidence that God will keep His promises!”

I know we all have challenges; but do you have hope? Are you resting in the sure confidence that God will do just as He has promised He would? That is the essence of hope and hope is a possession we all need to be sure we own in large quantities. I want to look into these verses and share about Hope In The Midst Of Your Challenges. I want to show you from the words of David, why you and I have a reason to hope in the Lord. 

Notice with me where our hope comes from and what hope will accomplish in our lives.

Verses 1-3 OUR CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE

David begins his psalm of hope by declaring his personal faith in the Lord.  Notice the three-fold use of the word “my” in verse 1.  David has a personal relationship with God.  This is the basic foundation for hope.

Confidence In The Person Of The Lord – David tells us that God is his “light”, his “salvation” and his “strength.” There is a tremendous blessing in these three titles attributed to our God.

As Light, God delivers His people from Darkness – “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:,” Colossians 1:13. As Light God guides our Steps – (Psa. 37:23; John 16:13; Psa. 119:105)

As Salvation God delivers His people from Damnation – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life,” John 5:24. As Salvation God secures our Souls – (John 10:28; 1 Pet. 1:5; John 6:37)

As Strength God delivers His people from Defeat – “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Cor. 15:57.  As Strength God guarantees our Success – (Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14; Isa. 54:17)

These three great characteristics of God serve to give us hope even in the midst of trouble. Because of Who our God is, we need not fear any enemy that should arise against us. Satan himself is no match for our sovereign God!

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The Sincerity of God


Psalm 12

The passage begins with a statement of lamentation, an expression of grief: “Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.” The writer is revealing an emotion. At least at the moment he wrote this, he loses sight of any remnant. His concerns is, Where are all the faithful people? Have they died? Have they ceased the activity of faith? Where are they? This is like a similar expression of sorrow written by Micah. “The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net,” (Micah 7:2).Nevertheless, it is the genuine emotion of godly people, as they become aware that their number and their way of life lies in demise.

I think God’s people today must feel this way, and at times the emotion may be this deeply felt. If we are God’s people, we place great value on behaviour expressive of honesty, personal purity, modesty, generosity, prayer, following the Scriptures, etc. But in our time we see these things either perverted, debated or ignored. And, as verse 8 declares: “vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” We often see what Isaiah saw (Isa. 59:4-9), or we observe the repulsive behaviours Paul documented in Romans 1. We are led by the sight of sin to complain that the faithful fail, the godly cease. Every child of God lives with the sad knowledge of the absence of godliness all around us.

The author defines what he saw that caused his grief: “They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, who have said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; Who is lord over us’?” Likewise in verse 8: “The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” What people say reveals who they are, because the tongue is governed by the heart (Matt. 12:34).

The writer of Psalms 12 drew the conclusion, “the godly man ceases,” because he heard how people were talking – their conversation revealed their character. Falsehood uttered reveals falsehood within. Idle talk says the heart is idle. Boasting proves pride. And notice the claim of verbal victory and self-rule: “…We will prevail, who is lord over us?” The lamentation of verse 1 was justified by the speech and behaviour described in verses 2-4 and 8.

In verse 5, God replies to the complaint of the faithful. He says, “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise.” This is a reference to God’s promise to give relief to the victims of the sinful behaviour defined. God has never overlooked any real victim! He doesn’t check with us, as to when and how to react. We cannot dictate to God, set deadlines or demand that He use the methods we think best. But you cannot give the Bible a fair hearing and miss this truth. He comes to the rescue of those who are victims of the treachery of man. {In the gospel, there is the supreme evidence of God’s desire to deliver, even victims of their own sin! Rom. 5:6-8}. God responds to the writer’s call for help. He states His intent to arise and deliver the victims to safety.

If verse 5 is God’s promise to arise and help, verses 6 & 7 state the basis of our confidence in God’s word. “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tired in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O Lord, you shall preserve them from this generation forever.” Now we arrive at the point or theme I want to stress. Carefully observe the contrast between what men say and what God says! In this chapter, men speak idly, “with flattering lips and double heart.” Men use their tongues to exalt themselves, gain their vile purpose and thus reveal their evil purpose of heart. It was so bad, the writer said, “the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.”

But now, turn your attention from the vain talk of men to the words of the Lord. “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” You cannot place confidence in the idle talk of men. You cannot reply upon the promises of the proud; “with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.” But there is good reason for unwavering confidence in God and in what God says.

In those days metal was tried and purified with fire. A furnace would be dug in the earth, an intense fire built, to test and purify silver. The process was repeated until there was no doubt, the product was genuine silver. The point of the illustration is, the words of the Lord are “perfectly pure.” No falsehood mixed in; no empty flatter; no false promises; no guile or deception in even trace amounts! “The words of the Lord are pure words.”

So, in regard to the Lord’s promise to arise and rescue victims of man’s, there is the greatest confidence. “You shall keep them, O Lord, you shall preserve them from this generation forever.” The writer was sure God would save the victims, setting them in the safety for which they yearned.

Psalms 12 establishes the insincerity of man and the sincerity of God! When Paul wrote so fully to document the sin of man he quoted from the Psalms: “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit,” (Rom. 3:13). This is the insincerity of man. This is why, you cannot just follow where men may lead, without discernment. We must not blindly accept the religious teachings and practices of men. We cannot allow men to impose upon us their standards and creeds (whether the men are baptized or not). There are false teachers who by smooth words and flattering speech, deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18).

What we can do is, repose our souls in the hands of God. Everything is just exactly as God represents it. He “cannot lie,” (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). We can enjoy great and absolute consolation in the words of God. His promises can bring into our hearts, a real assurance that men try to imitate but cannot duplicate. The Word of God has no other purpose, no other design upon us, than to do us the highest eternal good. Psalm 12 marks the difference between the insincerity of man and the absolute sincerity of God. The sum total of divine truth was given for our good, but requires our response.

“What a contrast between the vain words of man, and the pure words of Jehovah. Man’s words are yea and nay, but the Lord’s promises are yea and amen. For truth, certainty, holiness, faithfulness, the words of the Lord are pure as well refined silver.

The Bible has passed through the furnace of persecution, literary criticism, philosophic doubt, and scientific discovery, and has lost nothing but those human interpretations which clung to it as alloy to precious ore. The experience of saints has tried it in every conceivable manner, but not a single doctrine or promise has been consumed in the most excessive heat.”

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Waiting on the Lord! Why Wait?

Psalms 62:1-8

A. God instructs us to wait for strength. Is. 40:31

B. He tells us to wait for provision. Ps. 62:5

C. He tells us to wait for direction. Pr. 3:5-6

D. We are even told to wait for God’s will to be accomplished. Heb. 10:36

How should we wait on God?

A. While we wait, supplicate. Ps. 40:1

1. Supplication means to ask God for specific needs.

2. Failure to pray while we wait is one reason why we sometimes wait without success.

Doing our best as Christians is telling God all our needs as we wait upon Him.

While we wait, saturate. Ps. 130:5

1. Saturate yourself with the Word of God by reading, studying, meditating, and learning His Word.

2. Study about God’s goodness.

Read about the wonderful things that God has done.

Spend some time counting your blessings.

Meditate on God’s great love.

3. Study about God’s promises: God has promised…

Salvation for the seeking sinner. Ro. 10:9-13, Jn. 14:6

Forgiveness when we are guilty. 1 John 1:9, Prov. 28:13

Strength when we are weak. Is. 41:10, Ps. 27:13-14

Comfort when we are in sorrow. Is. 61:1-2, Mt. 5:4

Grace when we are sick or suffering. 2 Co. 12:8- 10, Jas. 5:13-16

Protection when we are in danger. Ps. 27:5, 50:15

Courage when we are afraid. Ps. 46:1-2, 34:4

Peace when we are upset. Is 26:3

Rest when we are weary. Mt.11:28

Guidance when we face decisions.
Isaiah 58:11

Strength when we face temptation. 1 Co. 10:13

Provision when we have need. Phil. 4:19

Companionship when we are alone. Heb. 13:5

Encouragement when we are defeated. De. 33:27

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Waiting on the Lord

Psalms 62:1- 8

For most of us, we’d rather do anything than wait. That is the source of many problems for us. When we get impatient we sometimes move too quickly or in the wrong direction.

It is the same in our spiritual life, many times God wants us to wait, but we grow impatient. He wants us just to trust Him and wait for His guidance. When we can learn to wait on God, we will truly grow spiritually with each situation.

Some Biblical examples of those who waited on God.

Noah

1. He was told to build an ark.

2. He was to keep faith until it rained.

3. Noah waited many years for something he had never seen before–rain!

4. Through that experience he gained much: salvation for himself and his family.

5. He also learned that God is true to His Word!

These were some very valuable lessons learned only through waiting.
Job

1. He is described as being a man who was perfect and upright.

2. God allowed him to encounter physical suffering that only intensified with time.

3. He lost his children, his material wealth, his health and his friends.

4. He waited perhaps years before God delivered him from his calamities.

Abraham

1. He was called of God to father a great nation.

2. It took many years and many experiences before he learned to discipline himself and wait on God

3. He learned that God will keep His promises, but that we must learn to wait.

Joseph

1. Sold into slavery by his own brothers.

2. Falsely accused and sent to prison.
3. Forgotten and mistreated, he learned to wait and that God had a purpose.

Moses

1. Found himself on the back side of the Midian desert for forty years.

2. As he waited for God to use him, he learned well enough to later tell the people of Israel to “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Ex. 14:13

From the New Testament:

1. Jesus waited on God’s will.

2. The disciples waited in the upper room.

3. Paul waited for three years so his heart and mind could be prepared for what God had for him to do.

Waiting on God is the rule, not the exception, but waiting on God is not worrying!

Study about God’s power: this will help you to see that God is able to solve any problem you face or give you strength to face any problem.

Waiting on God involves trusting Him, reading His Word so we can listen to Him, praying to Him and resting in Him quietly. Are you a waiter? or a runner? Too often we run ahead of God, when we ought to be waiting on him.

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