Preacher's Pundit

In a new episode of Last Man Standing, Mike Baxter, who is played by Tim Allen, has a scene in which he is imagining having a conversation with his dad who just passed away from a heart attack. As they go back and forth about how they both viewed Mike’s childhood and their relationship as he was growing up, Mike says to his dad, “you never said you loved me.” Mike’s dad reminds him that he never did either. Mike Baxter responds, “I was going to.” It makes me think back to April 15, 1999 when my mom’s best friend was shot to death in the Mormon library in Salt Lake City. At the time, they were in an argument and not talking. I said to my mom a few weeks earlier that they needed to talk it out and make up. My mom said, “we will, don’t worry.” She never got the opportunity to, and I know it ate at her soul.  

 

In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul writes, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” 

 

Anger is a human emotion God has instilled in us. In and of itself it is not a bad thing, although many falsely teach that all anger is sinful.  Jesus got angry (Mark 3:5). In Matthew 21:12, Jesus went into the temple to cleanse it as He confronted the money changers and overturned their tables. These merchants were using the temple as a way to sell their products and they were cheating others out of money. Jesus was angry, but He did not sin. What He did was necessary. They were turning his House into a den of thieves. Jesus dealt with a problem that could not wait. Anger at times is necessary. 

 

Here Paul is telling the Ephesian Christians how to handle anger. Using self-control helps to keep anger under control. He states that we cannot allow anger to remain in us and fester overnight. We need to address the problem right away so it does not turn into an angry outburst later. Satan has a field-day on those who allows anger to fester in them.  

 

The anger that my mom and her best friend felt towards one another was never dealt with. The opportunity for restored friendship died that tragic April day. We may not get the opportunity to make things right tomorrow. We may not be able to tell that person we love, “I love you” because tomorrow may never come. So never let the sun to go down on your anger, it is not worth it. What is worth it, is to let others you love to know you love them everyday. Satan has no opportunity when love abounds in our lives.  

 

 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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. 

 

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