Not Mine, but Thine


From Pastor’s Desk:

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. – Psalm 51:12 NASB

***

Way back in time before I started seriously studying Scripture, I would “quote” this verse as “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation…” With quite a few mistakes (okay, sins) under my belt, I realized, finally, that if it is my salvation, I am in a lot of trouble. I am not able to maintain it. Within myself, temptations are impossible to overcome. Trials bring so much grief that I am prone to give in and give up rather than give them to God.

Psalm 51 is written by David after an act of penitence. Failing so horribly when confronted with the temptation of a beautiful woman, and the consequent murder of her husband, he realized that he had done wrong. Added to that is the fact that he would probably not have ‘fessed up, had it not been for Nathan’s words, “Thou art the man!”

Verse 12 is preceded by:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,                                                                                                     And renew a steadfast spirit within me.                                                                                                            Do not cast me away from Your presence                                                                                        And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Sounds like he might have needed some help, doesn’t it?

Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts. We do have a great part to play in maintaining so great a salvation. And to the extent that we are recipients of and participants in, it is our salvation. Yes, we are to work it out with much fear and trembling (SEE Phil. 2:12). However, we cannot do it, and have no hope of ever doing it, within ourselves.

As long as our trust is in Jesus Christ, one thing we can be sure of is that God can, and will, ultimately save us. Not just initially, not only in the sustaining process, but when Jesus presents us to the Father as the Bride of Christ.

Mistakes (sins) lately? Yielded to temptation(s)? Didn’t do so well in the last trial(s)? You might need help, as David did. So do as David in the aftermath of it all and cry out to God, “Restore to me the joy of YOUR salvation…! 

Sunset over Mountain Range

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The Source


From Pastor’s Desk: 10-22-17

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

***

Have you ever thought about the explicit trust in God this principle necessitates? The valley of the shadow of death is a place where you are completely without resources, a place where nothing or no one is left to depend on, a place where you are on your own!

But we, as Christians, do not have to rely on resources. There is nothing “re” about God. He is our source! To differentiate between the two would be too lengthy to address here, so I would challenge you to examine the difference.

Let me share how I process it. When I (put your name here) am thirsty, I drink water from a bottle, faucet, or straight from a stream. I have drawn from a resource to quench my thirst. But that water had to come from somewhere to be my “resource.” The origin of the water in a stream, for instance, came from a “fountain-head” far, possibly, up stream. That is the source.

God is the “fountain-head” from whom all things flow. He is the Source! He is the reason we can fear no evil and are comforted in the time of walking through “the valley of the shadow of death.”

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Secret Revealed


From Pastor’s Desk:

The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:14-15 NKJV

***

Allow me to offer comment on these verses from Matthew Poole’s Commentary:

Verse 14 The secret of the Lord; either,

1. His word and counsel, to direct and guide them in the right way, which he oft mentions here as a singular blessing, Ps 25:8, 9, 12, to show them their duty in all conditions, and the way to their eternal salvation. And so this may seem to be explained by the following words,

…he will show them his covenant. And this, though it was revealed, yet might be called a  secret, because of the many and deep mysteries in it, and because it is said to be hid from many of them to whom it was revealed, Mt 11:25; 2Co 3:13-15; 4:3; and it is not to be        understood to any purpose without the illumination of their minds by God’s Spirit, as is  manifest from Ps 119:18, 19, and many other places of Scripture. Or rather,

2. His love and favour, which is called his secret, Job 29:4; Pr 3:32, and that very fitly, because it is known to none but him that enjoyeth it, Pr 14:10; Re 2:17. Or his gracious and fatherly providence, which is here said to be with them; or, as it is in the Hebrew, towards them, taking care of them, and working for them; even then when God seems to frown upon them.

Verse 15. My eyes are ever toward the Lord:

i.e. My trust is in him, my expectation of relief is from him only, and he will deliver me out of all my temptations and tribulations.

***

The situation you are dealing with this morning will determine which phrase leaps off the page at you. If you fear (reverence) Him, His word and counsel, as well as His love and favor, will be revealed. If your trust is in Him, He will deliver you from all temptations and trials.

He has promised! The ball is in your court!

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Source of Determination


From Pastor’s Desk:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 NKJV

***

The premise for this verse may be that the mind is the great battlefield where the war between carnality and spiritually is raging.

If there is any doubt that the mind has the vast capacity to engage in so great a warfare, consider 1 Cor. 9:26-27, where Paul says, “I run the race then with determination. I am no shadow-boxer, I really fight! I am my body’s sternest master, for fear that when I have preached to others I should myself be disqualified.”

Where is the source of determination? With what are we to be our body’s sternest master? The mind! When the “flesh” rears its ugly head, with all the urges and desires, it is the mind with which they are squelched. Urges and desires left to run rampant is what is behind much, if not all, the horrible things that happen in the world.

Much self-discipline is involved in this. Self-discipline is the most difficult of all disciplines, thus the warfare in the mind.

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Revealed Purpose


From Pastor’s Desk:

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 NASB

***

Bondage does not negate God’s promise! Looking at the setting and/or context of this verse, you’ll find that God’s people were in bondage when they received the word through Jeremiah. What’s more, God had taken them there Himself! (SEE Jer. 29:4, 14).

Rather startling is the fact that God leads His people, sometimes, into captivity. Don’t lose sight, however, that if God leads us into it, He will not let us stay there, but will deliver us according to His plan, which includes the right time.

The bottom-line principle is that God leads where He leads for a purpose. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t “see” the purpose at the entrance of the journey: It probably will not be revealed until He has taught us what He led us there to learn.

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Suffering for Right


From Pastor’s Desk: 10-15-17

1 Peter 3:14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”

***

I’m tweaking this verse a little, looking at it from a different angle, hopefully not doing injustice to the principle.

Isn’t it rather peculiar that many people who suffer are under the impression that their suffering is from the “right” they have done, when it is actually from stuff they have done themselves to get them in the predicament they are in. Now, these can be people, even good Christian people, who are well intended, but just simply have found themselves in an adverse situation because of something they were convinced that was “right.” Sadly, it happens to the best of us. The “suffering for right” continues until finally God gets in the place where His Spirit can speak to our heart and make us to realize that it is “…not my brother, not my sister, (or husband, wife, children, parents, friends, church family, etc.) but it’s me, O, Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” The illuminating spotlight of the Spirit dispels the darkness in which we are engulfed in, and all of a sudden (well, sometimes not so sudden) the truth of the matter is made excruciatingly apparent.

These times, in too many peoples’ lives, happen more often than not. Maybe that’s due to human nature. It’ll take someone much smarter than me to determine that. But, this one thing I do know, personal experience should be sufficient to teach us that many times our own individual traits can get us into serious trouble. For instance (I won’t be specific – I’ll leave that to the reader) one of those traits that rears its ugly head all too frequently, allowing the devil an “inroad” into your life, turning your spiritual existence to one of turmoil rather than tranquility. In other words, a “Work of the Flesh” had just been made predominant, whether by action or reaction. You do things, you say things, you act in a less than Christian way and wind up being hurtful, antagonistic, all the while thinking you were “suffering from what is right.”

This is great incentive to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour… (1Peter 5:8).

By the way, “devour” means to “Gulp down entirely.” It behooves you and me to not allow the devil to use one our traits in that process. He’s just looking for an opportunity to do so!

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Waiting in Silence


From Pastor’s Desk:

My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. Psalm 62:1 NASB

***

Many times that is all we can do; wait in silence. When our world is rocked by calamity, turmoil, and chaos, sometimes silence pervades our prayer time because we just don’t know how to pray. Words seem meaningless, ideas about this, that, or the other, are a tangled, confused mess in our minds, and cannot be formulated much less verbalized.

It is then God can really work! It is then when Scripture takes shape and leaps off the printed page! Verses like Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Interestingly, the NASB uses “Cease striving” for “Be still,” or, “Let go, relax.”

The people of Israel, at the Red Sea, were told by Moses, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exodus 14:13).

It’s probably the most difficult thing to do, isn’t it? We usually want to fix things ourselves, so when we come up against the proverbial brick wall we don’t know how to proceed.

That’s when Psalm 62:1 can speak to our heart. We then have to just stop, look, and listen, and let God be God. He alone is our salvation. When words don’t work, He hears the cry of our heart.

We must not miss the meaning of the word waiteth (KJV). דּוּמִיָּה dûmı̂yâh (doo-me-yaw’) is stillness; adverbially silently; abstractly quiet, trust: – silence, silent, waiteth.

Notice the word “trust” within the English derivatives. Our soul will not know how to, or care to, wait if we don’t trust Him.

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