Thanks to S.H. from Texas.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent word! What more can He say than to you He hath said— To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply; The flame shall not harm thee; I only design Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose, I will not, I will not, desert to his foes; That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake. That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr
How true this is! When a person waits “For the right time” to say something on your behalf they will almost certainly not speak on your behalf. The public silence of behind the scenes supporters sometimes hurts more than those who publicly attack you. Those who stand with you… take hits with you… suffer with you… prove their love for you are the ones you appreciate! Enemies who speak against you… ehh… God handles those. It’s the ones who say they’re for you and love you, but keep silent that hurt deepest. By comparison consider…
Heb 10:32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
“Love is forgiving someone even though you still remember it.” Danny Aiken
The best way I think about this is in relation to my wife and children. There is NOTHING they can do that will keep me from loving them. When they say or do something to hurt or offended me, I don’t always tell them but choose to forgive them whether or not they ask. There are people I have forgiven several to many times over the years. Sometimes years after an event they will come to mind and I’ve found it’s better to pray FOR them rather than allow anger or bitterness to take root. People WILL fail you. You WILL fail others. Forgive! Satan cannot defeat forgiving love!
“The ultimate way to handle the troubles of life is not just through prayers of petition, but through worship.” Tim Keller
This is learned by experience… in the depths of heartache and distress. Yes… prayer is important along with reading scripture. But without worship they are (dare I write it?) incomplete. I have found that praying… reading Scripture… AND worshipping God is when I am most encouraged. When you struggle, read… pray… AND worship God. Remember David in 2 Sam 12:18-23.
Question 1: What was the pastor’s text?
Question 2: What was the text’s main truth?
Question 3: How were you challenged to be more like Christ from the message?
The purpose of corporate worship is to encounter God through preaching. When we attend worship our goal should be to hear a word from God for the purpose of drawing closer to Him and becoming more like Christ. The message is not to entertain us, it is to glorify God and proclaim His truth… otherwise it is a failure. If the minister proclaims God’s Truth, and you don’t get anything out of the message… there is a problem and it doesn’t lie with the speaker.
God has promised that His Word will not be unfruitful (Is 55:11). If there is a lack of fruit in our mind (“I didn’t get anything out of the sermon today”), it is our fault. So here are a few suggestions for how to listen to a message…
1. Prior to the message, ask God to reveal His truth to you through prayer.
2. Prior to the message, ask God to speak through the pastor.
3. Be in an attitude of submission to God and His Word as it is proclaimed.
4. Listen for God’s Spirit to speak to you through His Word.
5. After the message, meditate on it and discuss it with others.
My new life song… Careful…
“I Asked The Lord That I Might Grow” (John Newton)
Read the words as the song plays…
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face
Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair
I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest
Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part
Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Humbled my heart and laid me low
Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”
“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest find thy all in Me.”
(Tuesday January 15, 2013. 7:30-12:45. M.S. Heather Ln)