Meanderings of a Minister


Be Strong in the Lord

The Easter celebrations are over.  The family has returned home or you have returned home.  You have been back at work for a week.  The decisions you made to be more faithful have been tried.  How do you keep the momentum going and maintain the growth that has started in your heart and in your walk with Christ?

While a different setting, David dealt with similar issues when he wrote Psalm 27:

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the Lord will take me up. Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.

First, David believed that he did not need to fear anyone or anything that opposed him because he believed God to be more powerful than his enemies.  God is more powerful than the enemy within and the enemies without.  He did not let the fear of failure, loss, or even war cause him to fear to the point that he took his eyes off of God.  We must not allow our fears and failures to take our eyes off of God either.

Second, David continued to hold the Lord and worship before his eyes throughout his life.  He was constantly reminded that, even if his enemies would prevail, he would spend eternity in the house of the Lord in Heaven.  If his enemies did not prevail, David would dedicate himself to worshiping at the Tabernacle.  We need to have this confidence as well.  If you have repented of your sins and surrendered your life to following Christ for the rest of your life, then heaven is your ultimate destination.  Until then, nothing can separate us from Him and from the privilege of worshiping Him.

David hungered to learn from God.  He wanted to know God.  He wanted to understand God’s character so that he could become more and more aware of and convinced of God’s love for him.  You and I have a privilege that David did not have.  We have the whole Bible to read and study and use to understand God and His plan for our lives.  In order to keep the momentum going with the decisions we made during the Lenten season and Easter, we must make the study of and obedience to God’s word a constant priority.

Lastly, David was honest with his frustrations as he went along.  He said that he was concerned to the point that he would have despaired if he did not believe that he would see the goodness of God in the land of the living.  David said he was really close to despair, but he was reminded that, even when he was not faithful, God still is.  You and I have that promise as well.  Jesus is coming again to get His children.  When things are hard here, we must keep this future deliverance in mind.  We must let that encourage us not to give up, give in, or give out.



Psalm 8: God’s Handprint Shows His Handiwork
August 11, 2016, 10:00 am
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handprint1

Many people love to watch CSI-type shows on the television.  I don’t know about you, but these types of shows fascinate me.  I am amazed to see how detectives can find bits of hair, rope, saliva, dirt, pollen, etc., and put together the pieces of the puzzle to determine what has happened.  Probably another reason for enjoying these shows is that they almost always catch the bad guys.  There is just something about justice prevailing that appeals to me.

As much as I love these shows, they are not new or original.  In Psalm 8, David engages in a little CSI-type investigation of his own.  He begins by saying, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth.”  There is a song that begins that way.  I think it was written by Michael W. Smith and is now accepted in many churches as a valid worship song.  But this is the conclusion of the matter.  How did he get there?  That is found in many of the other 8 verses of the Psalm.

First, David says that God has displayed His splendor above the Heavens.  What did he mean by that?  He meant that, when you look into the sky and contemplate the stars, sun and moon, you realize there must be someone or something else out there.  When you consider the stars and planets you are looking past, it shouts that this other something is other than you.  This is the Bible term “holy”.

Next, David moves to a more detailed description of what you can see.  He says that you can look at the way God grows up babies and strengthens infants and you understand His strength and even His adversaries cannot stand against that knowledge.  Think about it.  You take a human baby, apply love, care and nourishment and God grows that small child into a full-grown human man or woman.  When you consider the process, it reminds us that we have a God and He is in control.

David moves from this picture, back to considering the heavens.  In this, he is talking about the moon, stars, sun and planets.  As immense as the universe is, David is reminded that it is the handiwork of God’s fingers.  Notice David does not say it is the handiwork on His hands, but of His fingers.  If God is so big that the universe is a work of His fingers, that is an amazingly big God.

He also considers man himself.  Not just the physical development of men, but their position in the world.  Our position in the world.  God has made man to rule over creation.  How amazing is that!?  God created us and values us.  God entrusted His creation to us.  David did not live to see it, but today, we could even include that God has ordained men to carry on the work of His Church under the guidance of His Spirit.

Having considered all of the evidence, what conclusion did David come up with…if this was television, it would be time for commercial break…just where he began:  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!  As you and I consider this same evidence, we also have to conclude as David did that God is amazingly great and abundantly more than we can imagine.  If you don’t yet know Him personally, now is the time.



Looking Back to Look Forward (Psalm 103)
January 6, 2013, 5:46 pm
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Bless the Lord (Psalm 103)In this message, we are encouraged to think about all God has done for us in the past as a means of looking forward to what He is going to do with us, for us, and even in spite of us in the coming year.

Click on the image above to be linked to the audio for this week’s message.