|St. John Baptist Church|
|Sermons, prayer requests, and updates for our church family|
|I have always been interested in what I have thought of as the "Cave Psalms". There are a couple psalms that the title mentions them as when David was in the cave. Psalm 142 is such a psalm. I could say a lot about the psalm, but in verse 4 he says, I looked on my right hand, and behold, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. Those, to me, are some sad words. We all want someone to care and need someone to care. I read recently that administators at one of the largest hospitals in the U.S. said that loneliness was a major reason for overcrowded emergency rooms. People need someone to care. I'm so glad that there is One who truly cares. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He meant that. To a people who were overloaded by religious leaders with burdens to heavy to bear; to a people overloaded by life that weighs you down with its problems and cares. Jesus says, Come unto me. You and I can still come to Him and find rest, real rest, deep within our hearts. I'm glad there is One who truly cares.
|The story of Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have thrilled us and intrigued us since childhood. We all know the story of the three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace of the king. They were commanded to bow before the king's golden image he had set up and if they didn't they would be thrown into the furnace. Their response is found in Daniel 3:17-18-If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. They believed completely that God was able to deliver and that He would deliver them out of the king's hand, then they said, "but if not." I wonder if we have the kind of faith that says, "I believe the Lord can. I am trusting that the Lord will. But if He doesn't I will still serve Him only." That is "But if not faith." There are those whose faith never gets that far. Here's the question I have for you. Will you serve Him still if He doesn't answer your prayer as you desire? Will you still be faithful if He doesn't give healing as you want? Will you still honor Him if He doesn't come through as you wanted Him to in a particular situation? Will you still be faithful to serve Him then? It's easy to be faithful when He answers like you had hoped and when you had hoped, but if not, will you still be faithful to Him? If God's plan is different from yours, will you still trust Him? These three said they would, even if God's plan was not to deliver them as they hoped He would. It's something to consider. Do we have the "but if not" kind of faith?
|1-God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.|
2-Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3-Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4-There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5-God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6-The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7-The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
|Psalm 84:12 says, O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. The word "blessed" is a word we so often associate with the beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount. It is a word that speaks of true happiness or real joy. It is describing where true happiness of life is found. There are those who feel it must come from pleasures, prosperity or even in power, but the psalmist says that it is found when you put your trust in the Lord. You see, pleasures fade, prosperity can depart and power can diminish, but the Lord is permanent. The Bible commentator Albert Barnes put it like this, he says that this individual is "blessed in every respect; happy in being permitted to worship thee; happy in the blessings which religion scatters along his path here; happy in thy sustaining grace in times of trial; happy in the support given in the hour of death; happy in the eternity to which he is going." In other words, we are truly blessed in every area of our lives, from here to eternity. It's easy to focus on our burdens, but just stop for a few moments and realized just how blessed you are because of your trust in the Lord.
|2 Timothy 1:16 says, The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain. That verse has been a blessing to me every time I think of it or read it. Here was a man who was such a blessing to the apostle Paul that he said that he "oft refreshed" him. That word "refreshed" means to breathe or make cool like a breathe of fresh air or of breathing life into a person again. I wonder how long it has been since we've done that for someone else. Maybe there is someone you know who has had the breath knocked out of them by some tough situation. Your words of encouragement may be the ones to be like breathing new life into their heart. The word also has the idea of refitting or restocking a ship for future voyages. Again, there are people who feel spent by what they're going through. Life can drain you, wipe out your energy and take your resources to nothing. A word of kindness to let them know you're thinking of them and praying for them may restock their life to press on another day. So, I ask you, have you refreshed anyone lately? Paul said that Onesiphorus "oft refreshed" him. He had been an encouragement more than once. We all need someone at various times in our lives to "refresh" us from what life puts on us. Maybe you're reading this and need that refreshing. Maybe you're reading this and it's been a long time since you've "refreshed" somone else. I'm sure if you ask the Lord to guide you, He will put someone on your heart that you can "refresh" today.