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,

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.   

Saturday, September 20, 2014

BOLD Christian Outreach Reflections from Psalm 27

Subtitle: Someday we will see God ‘face to face’.

Psalm 27:1-14  
By David. The LORD is my light and my salvation. Who is there to fear? The LORD is my life's fortress. Who is there to be afraid of? …
I have asked one thing from the LORD. This I will seek: to remain in the LORD'S house all the days of my life in order to gaze at the LORD'S beauty and to search for an answer in his temple. He hides me in his shelter when there is trouble. He keeps me hidden in his tent. He sets me high on a rock. …
{When you said,} “Seek my face,” my heart said to you, “O LORD, I will seek your face.” …
I believe that I will see the goodness of the LORD in this world of the living. Wait with hope for the LORD. Be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Yes, wait with hope for the LORD. (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

What does God want us to seek?                   
God wants all sinners to repent and to look to Him for forgiveness.
God calls, “Seek my face.” And David replies, “O LORD, I will seek your face.”

This is our promise.
Those who seek after God’s protection will receive it.
It comes to those who trust in God.
Only the righteous can stand before God and gaze upon His face.
Only the forgiven will be made righteous.
Forgiveness cannot be earned, it is a free gift given to those who humbly confess their sins.
Forgiveness only comes to those who submit to the grace and mercy of the ONE who has the power to destroy both the sin and the sinner in the fires of hell.
But this ONE has already chosen to take the place of the sinner and destroy the power of sin.

Through God’s act of love, carried out by His Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior/Messiah’s death on a cross and resurrection from the dead, the penalty of sin has been paid in full. There is nothing stopping us from receiving forgiveness except our unwillingness to repent of our sins.

If we say we have NO sin, we deceive ourselves and must carry the burden of our sins throughout eternity, but if we confess and repent of our sins, God’s Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Messiah tells us that we are free from their burden because He has already taken it upon Himself. 1 John 1:9

This gift is for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. 
Jesus said, “My Father wants all those who see the Son and believe in him to have eternal life. He wants me to bring them back to life on the last day.” John 6:40 (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

Our task is to BOLDly tell others this GOOD NEWS message.
The Spirit of God uses this GOOD NEWS to bring them to repentance.
And those who repent… well you know… they get to see God - ‘Face to Face.’

In the past two weeks, I was at the bedside of two people who were waiting for their journey on this earth to end and their new life with Christ to begin. They knew that they were going to see Jesus - ‘face to face’, and in the midst of pain and suffering, they had peace, real peace! 

Within hours after my visit each of these individuals left their earthly bodies behind as they entered into the presence of their Lord Jesus Christ. 
By faith they knew that God's promise for them would be fulfilled, 
they would have eternal life with Jesus Christ. 
Now that life is reality!!