As I reflect on some of the great recent sermons of Matt and on the chaos that is often raging in our federal government, here are a few scriptures that I think about and meditate upon:
Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers (channels) of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous. But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Psalm 2: “Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision (shall scoff at them). Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure; ‘Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.’…”
Psalm 11: “In the LORD I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain’? For look! The wicked bend their bow; they make ready their arrow on the string that they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright beholds His countenance.”
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Phil 2:7&8: (He) “… emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
1stJohn 1:7: “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
There are times in life something happens that turns our lives upside down. One minute you are happy and the next you are in such grief you feel as if you never can smile again. Nothing could prepare me for the phone call I got on July 4th, 2006. My dad was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. I thought to myself, “How can this be? I was just having a great BBQ with him and our family and he was smiling and laughing and we were celebrating Independence Day together?” When the doctor told me he had a massive stroke and was going to die, I literally ran outside to the parking lot and fell to my knees, I cried and begged God to give him more time, to give me more time with him. Six days later we took him off life support. My family and I were devastated. I felt like a part of my heart died with him. I did not know how I was ever going to smile, to laugh, to be able to enjoy my family knowing I just lost my best friend and father. I eventually went into depression and allowed Satan to win too many battles. It was not just because I lost my dad, although that was the start of my life spiraling downward. Not good. One day in my house in Brentwood I fell to my knees and wailed in tears, praying to God, how much more do I have to endure? I begged Him to either take me or help me make it through the pain of it all. He did. Here I am today.
Psalm 13 is a lament Psalm. It starts out with asking God a tough question, we all ask when we are in pain. Basically, when will this end? This passage in Psalm 13 gives anyone who is in pain the permission to share it with others, and to go to God for healing. One cannot heal when they hold in pain. At first, David was like this. David asks God, “How long?” How long will he be without God? How long will this sorrow be in his heart? How long will his enemy prevail over him? As we get to the end of the Psalm, we see David do something we must do in our trials and grief. David trusted in God and He praised God for His love. Notice Vv. 5-6, David writes, “But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” I was a Christian when my dad passed away. I knew to trust in God but I failed to lean on Him and trust in Him. I failed to seek help from my brethren. I allowed the pain to hurt me in many ways and steal my joy.
Like David, we must put our trust in God. We must praise Him every day, especially in the storms that come upon us because He loves us and will heal us. God was right there with me during my pain and I know when I fully turned to Him and gave it all to Him, He helped to heal me and show me the joy I had in my life. God loves you so much. If you are going through pain, He is there. Go to Him and trust in Him, He will comfort you and bring you out of it. We can all rejoice knowing we have a loving God who is able to comfort us in our afflictions.
When I was in elementary school there was a kid much older than I was, who would bully me often. Sometimes he would verbally abuse me, he made fun of how I spoke (I had a speech impediment where I could not pronounce my “r’s”). But other times he would physical assault me. Since I was much younger and smaller, he was the boogeyman to me. He scared me. One day he came up and just punched me in the stomach for no reason, in which I doubled over in pain and cried. I did not know God at the time, I did not have the avenue of prayer and comfort. My “prayer” every morning was I would be able to avoid him.
King David had many enemies who wanted to physically assault him, and to kill him. They sought after him to do their evil deeds. David often went to the Lord in prayer for help, peace, comfort and guidance. In Psalm 5, we see David going to God to protect Him from His wicked enemies and for them to be punished, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness. No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood, the Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house. At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You. O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me. There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Hold them guilty, O God; by their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, for they are rebellious against You. But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, you surround him with favor as with a shield.”
Notice how David Prayed:
1. For God’s Help (Vv. 1-2)
2. To God in the morning and eagerly waits on the Lord (Vs. 3)
3. To Acknowledge God as Holy (Vs. 4)
4. That God takes no pleasure in sin and will deal with sinners (Vv. 4-6)
5. To worship God in reverence and For Him to lead him in his life (Vv. 7-8)
6. To God to Punish His adversaries and those who do God wrong (Vv. 9-10)
7. For others to take refuge in God – which causes gladness, joyful singing, being
sheltered and protected in Him (Vv.11-12)
I pray David’s prayer for this country and the world. I pray for our President, Military, and Law Enforcement Officers every day. They are under attack by wicked men. I pray for our congregation, especially our youth, who are under attack by Satan every day. I pray to the Lord to protect those who strive to serve and do good and punish those who are doing wicked.
In Proverbs 31, King Lemuel writes about what his mother taught him. He praises the god-fearing wife, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Vv. 25-30).
Many wives are also mothers. We thank God for all the mothers, especially those who are raising their kids in the ways of the Lord. Mothers who have taught their sons how to treat their wives as more valuable than rubies (Vs. 10). Mothers who have taught their daughters how to be virtuous women, following what God expects of them in how they live and carry themselves. Charm and beauty are just vanity without fearing the Lord.
Happy Mother’s Day. Although everyday can be a day to honor you, this day has been chosen to honor our mothers. What you mean to your husbands and families is more than what you may realize. God bless you all.
You have heard of the saying, “Only the good die young.” Or someone will ask, “why does it seem like so many good people are oppressed but you see all these evil people flourishing in life?” Have you ever asked that question? Why does God allow evil people to prosper? In Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 Solomon states, “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So, I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.”
Solomon’s thoughts here are similar to those in Proverbs. The thought of the oppressed being powerless was troubling to Solomon. The abuse of power, the suffering of those afflicted, the power evil men have, was hard to comprehend. Why does God allow cruel and evil people the strength to oppress others? Although Solomon was a very wise man, he did not see the justice from God coming as often as he it seemed he should have. In the Old Testament, God is stated as the avenger of the oppressed. In the Law of Moses, the Word of God states, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless”
There is a promise here that God will punish the oppressors and set the ones being oppressed free. Solomon did not understand that they do have a Comforter. We too must remember when we are being oppressed by someone or something, God is there. Solomon then in Vs. 2 makes a comment that possibly means he saw death as a means of one escaping the deeds of evil men and will receive their reward. In 2 Timothy 4:17, it appears that Paul believed so, “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Solomon goes on to make a point that is it an advantage for men not to know about all the oppression people do to others in the world. Death is the only escape. The answer to the question, “Why does God allow evil to prosper” is answered by Asaph in Psalm 73. It seems to us that these types of evil people have their way, that they are blessed in this world. But they too will face judgment. They may get away with evil here on earth. They may have many blessings as they do their dirty deeds. But their prosperity is clouded and short-lived. They will have to face the vengeance of God when death finds them (Hebrews 12:19).
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