Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 13, 2014

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."  Psalm 27:1-3

Trouble is all around us. Maybe it has you surrounded and you don't know where to turn.

The Psalmist was well acquainted with trouble and out of his troubles came most of the beautiful thoughts and words that have inspired so many for so long! You could sum up the 27th Psalm in this way - "Trouble? No Trouble!"

Why is that true?

Because you have a God Who is a refuge! What does that mean? How does that help?

First, it means that God is a personal refuge - "God is OUR refuge and strength....."

A refuge is a place to flee trouble. A refuge is a place of safety. A refuge is a place to hide. For the believer, God is that refuge! You can flee to Him and hide in Him in the day of trouble and be safe!

Furthermore, God is strong and His strength can become your strength because His IS a personal God!

Second, it means God is a present refuge - "an everpresent help in trouble."

Troubles come and go, but when God comes to you and when you flee to Him, He NEVER leaves! He will remain with you after the trouble has subsided. Where ever trouble might find you, God is already there! In fact, trouble has to get through Him in order to get to you and so if it gets to you He has allowed it because He knows that with His present strength you can handle it!

Third, it means God is a powerful refuge - "Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."

Your God is not only a personal God and a present God but He is also a POWERFUL GOD! When you flee to Him and hide in Him and there is nothing that can trouble you that will be more powerful than Him!

"Though the earth give way" - your powerful God CREATED the earth! So even if your trouble seems bigger than the world and though it seems your world has crumbled - He made the world and He can protect yours! If necessary He can put yours back together!

"and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea" - your powerful God CREATED the mountains AND the seas! Your powerful God can move and mountain and walk on the sea! So why should you be troubled by your troubles when you have such a powerful God?!

"though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." - trouble can rock your world and overwhelm you like an earthquake and a tsunami! But your powerful God will shelter you while He calms the storm! You may be wet and you may be shaken but you won't be harmed because your Personal, Present and Powerful God is your Refuge and your Strength!

Trouble? No trouble!

July 12, 2014

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled" Matthew 5:6

One of the proofs of God's existence is every person's inner craving for God and for goodness. 

Where else would the sense of "rightness" come from?

Where else would that inner longing for something more come from?

Doesn't it make sense that if God created us for Himself that He would wire each of us with a craving or a hunger to know Him?

Jesus is acknowledging that your cravings will control you if you don't get your cravings under His control.

In this statement of Jesus of the fourth Beatitude, Jesus is acknowledging that people have an inner craving to get life right and to make their world a more righteousness place.

Let's examine that statement with you.

I believe an atheist has a desire to create a more righteous world. That is an impossible task if you don't believe in God, but they have strong ideas of what is right, and moral and they have a craving to create a world in that image of "rightness". But attempts to satisfy the craving in their soul by their own efforts always leaves them disappointed , dissatisfied and more disillusioned.

I believe a Muslim is driven by a sincere craving to create a righteous world according to his understanding of what is right. Killing an infidel Christian or Jew who won't convert to Islam is an act of righteousness in the mind of a militant Muslim. They are trusting in their form of "righteousness" to please Allah and earn them a place in Heaven.

A liberal progressive has a vision of what would make the world more "right". That vision usually involves creating a strong and powerful central government with the power to make things more fair and more even. In their vision of rightness wealth will be taken from those who have it and given to those who don't have it. In their morality, whatever empowers and enlarges the State is righteous and whatever opposes or undermines the power of the State is evil. Therefore, to trust in Christ and the righteousness revealed in God's Word constitutes a direct threat to liberalism.

Jesus said that you must have a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees. Their idea of righteousness consisted of rituals, rules and religious observances. Their craving to find God's approval degenerated into a self-righteousness that led them to gross hypocrisy and left them empty. The had a form of religion but no relationship with God.

It really can't be denied that God has placed a craving for righteousness deep in the heart of every person. And the truth that Jesus declares must be taken seriously, you will get what you crave the most and cravings that are out of His control will end in emptiness.

The only was to be blessed by God is to put your cravings under His control so He can become what you crave the most. When you crave Him the most you will come into right relationship with Him and THAT is THE BLESSING!