Sunday, October 19, 2014

BOLD Christian Outreach Reflections from Psalm 30

Subtitle: Facing the Pit (Death)  

 “I will honor you highly, O LORD, because you have pulled me out {of the pit} and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried out to you for help, and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave. You called me back to life from among those who had gone into the pit.” Psalm 30:1-4 (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

Have you ever hit rock bottom? It is a very lonely place to be. Danger awaits you in the morning! Fear fills your senses! Your body silently screams at you for an escape! Panic grips your mind! Your thoughts race in several directions and then they become silent, and still you realize that you have no control over what will happen next, so you do the only thing that makes sense at the time…you call out to God. “Help! Please help me LORD! My life is in your hands. I have nothing and without YOU I am nothing. But with YOU, through YOU, and by YOUR divine intervention I will live to see another day.”

This is where faith is tested. Faith isn't something you create, but it is planted in you by God and then it is nurtured through trials and adversity until it becomes ingrained in the very fabric of your existence. Some people are only tested a few times, and go through deep valleys once or twice, but they are the exceptions, for most of us these deep valleys are regular occurrences. Sometimes as we get older the valleys in life seem to be less frequent and not as difficult to endure. This may be the result of our growth in faith as we learn to trust in the promises of God. 

As I look back over my life I have started to understand what David experienced in the 23rd Psalm as he wrote, “Even as I walk through the valley of death, I will not fear evil, because YOU are with me and YOUR rod and staff brings me comfort.” When I reflect on how my LORD has rescued me in the past, it is a little easier to let go of the fear and then trust that HE will rescue me again.

In the beginning of this Psalm, David is expressing that emotional bottom. He had been in the pit of death with little hope for escape, yet God turned the tables on David’s enemies and rescued him. At the same time, God used these words of David to prophesy of the death and resurrection of the Messiah.

Our outreach promise from this Psalm has been fulfilled in the body of our LORD Jesus Christ when He rose from the dead.  While David’s words were of emotional death and rescue, they point to the life of Jesus who physically died and rose from the dead. Jesus fulfilled the prophesy, “O LORD, you brought me up from the grave. You called me back to life from among those who had gone into the pit.”

If you are feeling like your life is in the pit; there is hope! If you are ministering to someone else who is at rock bottom; there is hope! GOD HAS THE POWER TO RESCUE US FROM THE PIT!

Death has been defeated and has no power. Jesus the Messiah has won the victory over death. We have nothing to fear when we by faith let God lift us up. And then… with David we can BOLDly sing praises to the God who saves us.

You have changed my sobbing into dancing. You have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy so that my soul may praise you with music and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” Psalm 30:10-12 (God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BOLD Christian Outreach Reflections from Psalm 29

Sub title: The Sound of God’s VOICE – His WORD.

Give to the LORD, you heavenly beings. Give to the LORD glory and power.
Give to the LORD the glory his name deserves. Worship the LORD in {his} holy splendor.
The voice of the LORD rolls over the water. The God of glory thunders.
The LORD shouts over raging water. The voice of the LORD is powerful.
The voice of the LORD is majestic. …
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD makes the wilderness tremble. Psalm 29:1-4,7-8
My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. 
It will not come back to me without results. 
It will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do. Isaiah 55:11

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was already with God in the beginning. Everything came into existence through him. Not one thing that exists was made without him. He was the source of life, and that life was the light for humanity. The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it. John 1:1-5

The Word of life existed from the beginning. We have heard it. We have seen it. We observed and touched it. This life was revealed to us. We have seen it, and we testify about it. We are reporting to you about this eternal life that was in the presence of the Father and was revealed to us. This is the life we have seen and heard. We are reporting about it to you also so that you, too, can have a relationship with us. Our relationship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:1-3  
The LORD [Jesus] sits enthroned as king forever. The LORD will give power to his people. The LORD will bless his people with peace. Psalm 29:10,11 (All scriptural quotes taken from God’s Word, Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society,

Can you imagine what the sound of the LORD would be like?
When God spoke to Moses the people heard what sounded like thunder in their ears.
When God spoke at the baptism of Jesus, 
     those who were standing there said it sounded like thunder.
David heard the sound of thunder and reflected on the power of God’s voice.
Thunder is mild compared to the full force of the voice of God.
God said “Let there be light!” And there was light!
At the sound of His voice everything on earth and in the heavens were created.
By His voice, His spoken word, everything came into being.
Faster than the crack of lightening; He said “Let there be… and it was!”
The end will be as the beginning. God will speak and the entire world will be gathered together to see Jesus return as LORD over all.

A few weeks ago, lightening hit our house. It went through our electrical panel so fast that the breakers didn’t have time to react. Surge protectors failed to trip, TV’s were blown, along with other random appliances. Some appliances were left undamaged while others were rendered cold stone dead.

God’s Word is like that. It is fast and powerful. It gets through to some people while others are left untouched. Only in the case of God’s Word, instead of destroying, it resurrects. The people who are penetrated by God’s Word are dead sinners who are brought back to life.
God’s Word became flesh in Jesus Christ. He lived among us and spoke clearly so we would know the way of salvation. He died in our place. He destroyed the power of sin and death. He made it possible for sinful people (like myself) to have an everlasting relationship with God in heaven. He gives us the privilege to be heirs in His kingdom. He gives us everlasting peace.

Our outreach promise in Psalm 29 is this: In spite of what things look like on the outside, in spite of the trials or difficulties or storms in our lives, in spite of darkness and sorrow; 
   God’s living Voice, the living Word, Jesus Christ has overcome our enemy, Sin.
Jesus has destroyed the power of sin, death, and the devil.
He gives the power to live a new life to everyone who trusts in Him for the forgiveness of their sin. And by His Spirit He fills them with internal and eternal peace.

If you have experienced this peace within, 
    BOLDly share the source of that peace with your friends and neighbors.