June 25, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO GIVE REST IN ADVERSITY

Psalm 94:13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. 14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

We have been discussing “adversity”. The Hebrew word for adversity in this verse means bad or evil, affliction, calamity, distress, grief, harm, heavy, hurt, misery, sorrow, and trouble. That certainly covers a number of things. It is interesting that just after mentioning that adversity will be in our life, God leads the author here to remind us that God will never cast us away, and He will never forsake His inheritance. It is because God certainly knows us. God knows how we feel about things. God knows our weaknesses. One thing that you and I tend to do, is to think that when adversity hits us, that God has forgotten or forsaken us. I guess it is a natural human tendency, this can cause major issues in our Christian life.

Here is how it normally happens in our life. Adversity comes into our life. When that happens, we struggle to stay strong, to stay encouraged, and to stay faithful. As we struggle, we begin to wear down and become frustrated. Remember, God has made rest available, but we often do not access it. As we wear down, we begin to question why these things have happened. As we begin to question, we begin to think some very untrue things about God. Satan will make sure of that. We begin to ask ourselves things like, ‘why would God do that?’, ‘why would God allow that?”, and the dreaded question, ‘If God really loved me, why would He have done this’. I guess we all have struggled with questions at times because we were frustrated. That is why God makes it clear here that He will never forget, and He will never forsake his children. That is what Satan will tell you but don’t believe it. That is what bitter, angry Christians will tell you, but do not believe them.

Even when you seem to see individuals thriving that are not serving God, are not in God’s house, and do not have Godly priorities in their life, do not let that discourage you. That is why God tells us in this verse that the pit will, “be digged for the wicked”. It may look to you and I like they have no problems, but their problems are really just beginning. When you get bitter and angry with God, and distance yourself from His will, you are digging a pit for yourself. In time, an individual like that will fall into it. This is what can happen when “days of adversity” come. All of us are just one difficult circumstance away from being bitter, angry, and distant with God. I encourage you today, don’t let that happen. Take advantage of the “rest” that God has provided, promised, and made possible. He is able to give rest in the midst of adversity.

June 23, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO GIVE REST IN ADVERSITY

Psalm 94:13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.

ADVERSITY! We all face it. We all have faced it. We all will face it. That is why the verse says “days” of adversity. I feel as if believers are crumbling more under adversity now than ever. I do not believe, however, that Christians are facing more adversity now than we ever have. You hear that a lot. There is adversity, and in different places around the world, Christians are facing great persecution and adversity. Here in America, however, Christians are not being burned at the stake daily. Last time I checked, preachers are not being stoned across America for preaching on a Sunday morning. Let’s be honest, we are not facing persecution as the early church founders faced. But more of us are crumbling. Maybe it is because we have had it too good. Maybe we are a little bit spoiled. Maybe we are just not grounded and rooted as we should be. Maybe we are just not as dedicated. Maybe we are just not as tough. Maybe all of the above.

I am the first to admit that adversity hits me hard sometimes, harder than it should. This verse tells us that God will provide “rest from the days of adversity”. Often, Christians do not feel the rest that God provides, simply because they are not in a close enough relationship with God. They are too busy trying to figure it out on their own, rather than rely upon God’s grace. Sometimes we are too busy complaining about the adversity, instead of thanking God for the rest He has made available. Instead of running to God in adversity, we run from God. We talk about how mean God has been, and how unfair it is that we have to go through such adversity. If we would just, “be still and know that He is God”. Remember:

* Psalm 46:God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

David is a man that faced adversity. Some of it he caused himself, but much of it was inflicted by others. David had found God to be faithful during these times. Look at what David says in this verse:

* II Samuel 4:As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,

David had seen adversity come and go. David had seen difficult circumstances come and go. David had seen mentors come and go, friends come and go, and family come and go. But David had seen God come and stay. God will never leave us nor forsake us. I encourage you today if you are in the midst of what we call “adversity”, remember that God has provided rest in the midst of it. I encourage you today:
* Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him:

June 22, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BLESS ME BY CHASTENING ME

Psalm 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

God makes us aware here that “chastening” not only blesses us but teaches us lessons that we could not learn any other way. Teaching always goes along with chastening. God says that these lessons are learned “out of thy law”. In other words, when I am chastened, I should go to God’s word and learn what God is trying to teach me. so many times, God has to continue to teach us the same lessons, because instead of going to God’s word when we are being chastened, we run from it. We allow our hearts to be hardened. As long as we continue to do that, we will not learn the lessons that God is trying to teach. That means that God will have to continue chastening us.

Which brings me to my next point. In verse twelve, notice this important statement, “O LORD”. This makes very clear what God’s position is. He is Lord. He is the one in charge. He is the one who chastens, and He is the one who teaches. Chastening comes from the Lord, temptation comes from Satan. I believe when the Lord chastens you and I, we will know it. We do not have to wonder if this is coming from Satan, or if this is coming from the Lord. When God chastens us, we know it’s from Him.

We also need to understand that it is pointless for us to continue to fight the chastening of God. He is Lord. We are not. Why would we think that we could possibly win a fight against the Lord? By the way, the Law that God is teaching us lessons out of, He wrote it. You and I, who are the objects of His chastening, He created us. All the circumstances that facilitate the chastening, He controls them. Good luck fighting that.

We do not know for sure who wrote this particular Psalm. There are a lot of opinions and reasoning by a number of people who wrote this. I am of the opinion that it really doesn’t matter who penned these words. If God wanted us to know for sure, we would know it. I believe the point of this verse is not the person being chastened, it is the Lord who is doing the chastening. It doesn’t really matter who we are, it only matters who God is. What is important, is for us to realize who God is, He is God, and Lord, and King, and Sovereign. What is important is for us to be thankful that He loves us enough to chasten us when we need it. We should be thankful for the lessons that God has taught us through his chastening.

June 21, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BLESS ME BY CHASTENING ME

Psalm 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

There are some wonderful truths and principles in this entire chapter. We are going to look at some of them a little bit closer. These verses speak about “chastening” and “adversity”. These are two things that each of us will face in our Christian walk, and two things that each of us can be confused by.

Only God would put “chastening” and “blessing” together. In fact, God says that the individual that is chastened, is also blessed. That does not really compute with us. That does not seem to make sense. We would feel guilty to say that the person who gets away with everything is actually blessed. We wouldn’t say that, but that is actually what we think occasionally. I have always been a person that felt like I never was able to get away with anything. Trust me, it has been frustrating at times. I seemed to always get caught. I haven’t always felt blessed because of that, but now that I am older, I realize that it is God keeping me in line.
What does God mean by this statement of being blessed to be chastened?

IT MEANS THAT WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD.
* Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
God would not be chastening us if we were not His child. When I was a child, there were a number of times that kids around me misbehaved just like I did, but my dad did not spank them. My dad spanked me. Why is that? Because they were not his children, but I was.

IT MEANS THAT WE ARE CARED ABOUT BY GOD
* Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
If the parent does not ever discipline their child, they are not helping their child. They are hurting their child. As a parent, we discipline our children because we want the best for them. We care about them

IT MEANS THAT WE ARE BEING CHANGED BY GOD
* Hebrews 12:6 Forever whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Believe it or not, it is a blessing to be chastened by God, because it means that God has not given up on us. It means that God has a plan for us. It means that God still sees something wonderful in us. It means that there is a purpose to our life. It means that God is still working on us. If we’re not being changed, then we are not being blessed. Please take time to think about these things today.

June 20, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE MY AVENGER

II SAMUEL 22:48 It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me, 49 And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies…

Some of the most popular comic book heroes in our day are called The Avengers. They are called that because they are a group of individuals that use their powers to fight on behalf of those that cannot fight for themselves. They avenge some wrong that has been done and try to make things right. Of course, it is all make believe and unrealistic, but the idea is not a new one.

God is the only real “Avenger”. David says here in this passage that God fights for him. David says that “God…avengeth me”. Sometimes in life we are treated unfairly. Sometimes in life we are hurt by individuals that have a wrong spirit toward us. When this happens, our first reaction is to fight back or retaliate. We all have certainly been there. That is why Paul said this:

• Galatians 5:7 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”

It is usually people that discourage us and hinder us. David says that when this happened to him, God avenged him. Notice here what David said that God does:

1. GOD BRINGS THEM DOWN
We often try to avenge ourselves by bringing the other person down. Or, we try to avenge ourselves by lifting ourselves up. Or, we try to avenge ourselves by making ourselves look right and the other person look wrong. All of it is really self-promotion. David said that he let God handle it, and guess what God did. God brought them down. You and I need to learn from this. If we try to bring people down, that will backfire in our face. Let’s just let God handle it and do what He feels is right. David insinuates here that we need to stay humble and stay put. God will bring accusers down. God will avenge us, we do not need to.

2. GOD BRINGS YOU FORTH
I just love these verses. God “bringeth down the people under”, and “bringeth me forth from”. That’s my God. We do not have to stoop to their level. We don’t have to get down in the mud with them. If we let God handle it, He brings them down, and brings us forth. He puts them in a place of judgment and puts us in a place of blessing. Trust me, He is able to be your “Avenger”. Take that Ironman.

June 19, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO CALM OUR STORMS

Mark 4:34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. 35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

I felt it was important to let you read this entire story. As you slowly read this passage, here are some thoughts we need to apply to our lives.

THERE IS ALWAYS THE RISK OF STORMS WHEN YOU FOLLOW CHRIST IN THE SHIP
If you stay home and do nothing, you probably won’t have a storm. You and I better understand when you get in His ship that there will be storms.

IT IS NICE TO KNOW CHRIST NEVER SENDS US INTO THE STORM BY OURSELVES
In verse thirty-five, Jesus carefully states, “Let us pass over”. This means that Jesus was in the ship with them, and by the way, Jesus is in the ship with you. He will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus was in the ship before the storm ever came. Why does the Bible say that Jesus was asleep on a pillow? To show that Jesus was not only asleep, he was comfortable.

STORMS ARE ALWAYS HARDER WHEN YOU ARE IN THE DARK
Verse thirty-five says, “when the even was come”. Storms are more difficult when you can’t see. That’s the way life is sometimes. There’s so much in life that we cannot see and that is when we must trust Christ even more.

CHRIST WAS NOT AROUSED BY THE DANGER HE WAS AWAKENED BY THE DISCIPLES
Jesus did not wake up from the storm, he woke up because the disciples called out to Him. Is it not great to know that Jesus always hears us when we call?

CHRIST DID NOT FEEL FEAR, HE FELT THE FEAR OF THE DISCIPLES
God will never put on us more than we can bear. The Bible says we have a high priest that is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. The Bible says that the Lord knows our frame and remembers that we are as dust. Jesus knew what they were feeling, and He cared. It sure is wonderful to know whatever storm you are going through today that Jesus really does know how you feel and He cares.

CHRIST ALWAYS PROVIDES PEACE IN THE STORM
God never said “peace” to the disciples. He said “peace” to the storm. The disciples already had access to His peace before the storm came. They were never in any real danger. God does not have to stop the storm for you to have peace.

WE MUST GET TO THE POINT THAT OUR FAITH IN THE SAVIOR IS GREATER THAN OUR FEAR OF THE STORM
God does not expect us to not be afraid. He just wants us to get to the point that our faith is bigger than our fear. Faith is believing and being “persuaded that He is able”. He is able to calm our storms, and He is able to keep us calm in the midst of our storms.