Monday, September 22, 2014

BOLD Christian Outreach Reflections from Psalm 28

Subtitle: Lord have mercy… Christ have mercy… Lord have mercy.


Psalm 28:1-3, 6-9
(By David)  O LORD, I call to you. O my rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. If you remain silent, I will be like those who go into the pit. Hear my prayer for mercy when I call to you for help, when I lift my hands toward your most holy place. Do not drag me away with wicked people, with troublemakers who speak of peace with their neighbors but have evil in their hearts. … Thank the LORD! He has heard my prayer for mercy! The LORD is my strength and my shield. My heart trusted him, so I received help. My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song. The LORD is the strength of his people and a fortress for the victory of his Messiah. Save your people, and bless those who belong to you. Be their shepherd, and carry them forever. (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society, www.godsword.org)

Lately in my ministry, God has placed me in four situations where I have had opportunities to minister to the families of those who are near death. For some the process was slow, labored, and to some degree a painful experience. For others, the process happened relatively quickly and left the family members in a state of shock and sudden grief. I struggled with the right words to say; wanting to extent the hope and comfort that comes from faith and the assurance of eternal life with Christ, without discounting God’s ability to bring about physical healing and the extension of life on earth in the flesh.

In each situation the words that I spoke were a prayer of mercy.

I called upon God to remember His promise to be merciful to those who call on His name and trust in His promise of salvation. This is the example that David (by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) has given to us in Psalm 28. “Hear my prayer for mercy when I call to you for help…” [Do not hold my sin against me; forgive me because YOU are merciful.] – (my interpretation).

I also prayed that God would give us His peace. The same peace that David received at the end of the Psalm, “Thank the LORD! He has heard my prayer for mercy! … My heart trusted Him, so I received help.” This peace comes from the assurance that God has already won the victory over death by His Son, the Messiah.

This is our outreach promise.
We can BOLDly proclaim its truth.
It is a sweet message for those who trust in Jesus Christ. 

What a comfort it is to know that soon the one you love will be in the presence of Almighty God, free of pain, sorrow, suffering, and sin. The cancer that was eating away at their body has at last been removed. The sin that has separated them from the holiness of God has been completely destroyed. For the rest of eternity they will be living as they were once intended to live – full of joy, peace, patience, kindness, and love beyond comprehension.

As I prayed with these believers in Christ and their dear family members, they each acknowledged that peace and contentment, nodding with the assurance that they would soon be in the presence of their loving Savior and Lord. They did not fear death, because they knew that Jesus would carry them in His arms, much like a parent carries a newborn child, to that place of eternal peace and rest.

Soon they would be with God, their provider, shepherd, and LORD, in His heavenly kingdom forever.