Cry Out

Psalms 61:1-2
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I .”

We cannot be certain of the occasion that stirred David to write this psalm. It may have been a time of great difficulty, opposition or trial. He may have been facing severe attacks from Saul, the Philistines or one of the neighboring kingdoms. It is also possible the struggles he faced were not external. It may have been that David was engaged in that great inner struggle between his desire to do what is right in the eyes of God, and his own human weaknesses. Whatever caused the dilemma, he concluded that the only solution was to cry out to the Lord. Crying out to God should include at least three things.

First, we cry out for deliverance from whatever it is that is attacking us. We need to realize,  no matter what the cause, Jesus is the solution. If you are being plagued by consequences to your own actions, cry out to God. If you are being unfairly attacked because you have chosen to live for Christ, cry out to God. If you are under the stress of inward turmoil or temptation, cry out to God. He alone has the strength to deliver us from all things.

Second, cry out to God for forgiveness. Often the hardships we face are allowed by God to expose things that are amiss within us. We learn to justify sinful behavior or cover it up, as if we could hide it from the Lord. During times of great opposition, our own sinfulness is often exposed. Those things are brought to the surface so we can cry out to God for forgiveness. Sometimes, this can be done privately by dropping to your knees and confessing your sin to our Heavenly Father, who delights to forgive us. Other times, there is value in making your way forward at church and treating the stage as an altar, where you can cry out to God and confess your sin and recommit your life to Him.

Finally, we should cry out to God for more of Him. Difficulty reveals weakness and weakness should reveal our need for God. Our needs can be met when He pours His Spirit out upon us. Individually and corporately, the greatest need the Christian has is for a fresh and deeper work of the Spirit. Looking at the current condition of the world, as well as most Christians individually, I would say we are in need of revival. We need God to pour out, from heaven, a larger measure of His Spirit upon His church. Join with me as we cry out to God to be filled again with Holy Spirit.

Pastor Jim

 

I Have Seen 

Exodus 3:7
“And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.'”

Since the incarnation, this is all the more true. With the eyes of man, God has seen oppression. He watched the brutal way in which men oppressed men. He saw tax collectors steal from men to support their sinful lifestyles, soldiers abuse authority and instill fear in the people, and religious leaders manipulate the people to gain power over their lives and attain a position of prominence.

With His ears, He heard the cries of men. He heard the cry of the widow whose son had died, the leper who pleaded for a healing touch, and the publican who cried out for mercy. He also heard the cries as the mob who exalted Him as Lord one day, only to demand His death a few days later.

He also knows our sorrows. He sat with friends who had lost their brother and wept alongside them. But more than knowing our sorrows as a comforter, He knows them as a victim. He learned first hand the pain of betrayal, rejection and hatred. His back felt the searing pain of the Roman whip, His brow, the thorns, His hands and feet, the nails. He knew the disgust of being spit upon, ridiculed, and falsely accused, yet, remained silent before His accusers, as He endured the cross and despised its shame.

As we face the pain, sorrow and difficulty of life and are tempted to raise accusations against God, thinking He does not care or understand, remember, He not only sees with the watchful eye of heaven, but He Himself bore our sorrows and is acquainted with our grief.

Pastor Jim

Pain And Gain 

Ecclesiastes 7:14
“In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other…”

Adversity is part of life, and for the believer, it is something that should be embraced. It is not that we desire to suffer, but that we realize, God will use the difficulties we face to develop the character of Christ within us, and to shine the light of the gospel from us. As we work our way through the pages of the Scripture, we find the Bible heroes were forged through suffering.

Abraham became the father of faith, when he embraced his calling and left his home and family, for a land where he would forever live as a stranger. Moses embraced the suffering that came with choosing to identify with the people of God, rather than the palace of Egypt. David embraced the hardship of being the forgotten son, who was ridiculed by his brothers. Rather than weeping, whining, and expressing how unfair life is, he turned his eyes upward and wrote beautiful praise choruses that still comfort the hurting heart.

Life is filled with difficulty, adversity, trial, and hardship. As a follower of Christ it is important, that instead of wallowing in the mire of the unfair, we embrace the hardship, and allow the Lord to draw us near to Himself, and produce what is lacking in our faith.

If you are struggling through a painful experience, take the time to consider what God wants to accomplish in your life, and how the light of the Gospel of Christ can shine forth in your pain.

Pastor Jim

 

What Are Words For? 

Job 7:11
Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”

As a child, I learned a simple proverb designed to help when someone said something unkind, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As the years passed, I found, for many, the wounds caused by unkind words are much greater than anything a kick or a stick could ever inflict. The closer the relationship, the more painful it is when the sword of the mouth cuts deep. This seems to be especially true in marriage relationships. It is common for a couple to be upset with one another, and lash out with unkind words. The hurt caused by letting insults fly, may take weeks to repair. In some cases, a person never seems able to get over it. I think we can learn a valuable lesson from Job regarding the unkind words that flow out of our mouth in a moment of rage, pain or confusion. Job declares,

“I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.”

Job realized, much of what he was saying was fueled by the intense pain he was experiencing. He seems to be pleading with his friends to understand that some of what he was saying was more of a reaction to his anguish, than an expression of what he really believed. I believe it is important to be very forgiving of a person who speaks out of pain, sorrow or confusion. Just as when the hammer hits our thumb, and a word comes out that we would never say otherwise. It is common for a person to say things in distress, they don’t really mean.

If in the midst of a heated argument, your spouse said something you are having a difficult time getting past, give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they were speaking from the anguish of their spirit. Be willing to extend the mercy Job was hoping to receive from his friends. After all, when the story reaches its end, we find out how wrong they both were.
Pastor Jim

 

The Innocent 

Job 4:7
“Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?”

While Job was suffering the physical and emotion pain brought on from his trials, three friends arrived to offer their condolences, and seek to bring him answers. Eliphaz was first to speak. It seems he could not comprehend a situation where people did not deserve the suffering they were experiencing. This causes him to ask a very important question, has anyone ever died who was truly innocent?

The Bible teaches that there are none who are completely righteous, each and every person is a sinner and has practiced sin. It is humorous how some people take offense to that. They become upset when they are told they are sinners, even though all the evidence supports the Bible’s claim. A few years ago I was in West Africa on a short term mission trip. I, and another man, began to witness to a group of young men. When the conversation turned to talk about their need for a Savior, one of the young men declared that he was not a sinner. Surprised a bit by his statement, I paused to think about how to respond, while the gentlemen with me simply turned to one of his friends and asked if they thought their friend was a sinner. They all broke out in laughter. Apparently, in their minds he was the biggest sinner of them all.

The reality is, no one is innocent. We are born sinners, and we prove it everyday of our lives by the way we treat others, and ignore the ways of God. Because of our sinful nature, we find ourselves under the judgment of God, facing eternity apart from Him. It is here, where Eliphaz’ question finds its answer. There is One who perished being innocent. That One, is the sinless Son of God, who died on behalf of the guilty. Jesus lived a life without sin, in order to die a death that would pay the price for sin. At His death, even His accusers admitted He had done nothing wrong. His death was in our place, the innocent for the guilty, that He may offer us eternal life.
The solution to our sin problem is found in receiving Jesus Christ. If you want your sins forgiven, and the free gift of eternal life, then invite Jesus to forgive you of sin, to become your Savior and Lord. Take a moment to pray:

“Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner, I ask you to forgive me of my sin, and become my Lord. I pray you would help me leave my old ways behind, and follow after You.”

If you prayed that prayer, let us know so we can help you follow Jesus.

Pastor Jim

 

Loss

2 Samuel 12:22-23

“And he said, ‘While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, “Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?” But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.'”


David and Bathsheba found themselves face to face with a parent’s worse nightmare. Their child was diagnosed with a terminal illness for which modern medicine had no answer. Like any of us, David was devastated, he would not eat or sleep, and those closest to him began to worry about what he might do to himself. When the sickness reached the end, and the child passed, David’s behaviors changed dramatically; he showered, ate, and worshipped. When questioned about the sudden change, he declared, 


“While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”


David explained that comfort came in knowing his child was with the Lord, and he would one day be reunited with him. This truth would not take away the pain or sorrow, but would ease it by providing hope. Those who have lost a child know that you don’t “get over it,” but you can receive strength and comfort from the Lord to carry on. Part of the comfort comes from the truth of knowing we will be reunited in eternity. I heard a man who lost his daughter explain, he wanted to live for eternity because he already had so much invested there. 


If you are dealing with the pain of loss, be comforted in knowing God understands your sorrow and there is a day coming when every tear will be wiped away. 


Pastor Jim 

  

He Heard My Cry

Exodus 3:7
“And the Lord said, ‘ I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.’”

IMG_1385Since the incarnation, this is all the more true. He has seen oppression with the eyes of man. He watched the brutal way in which men oppressed men. He saw tax collectors steal from men, to support their sinful lifestyles, soldiers abuse their authority, instilling fear in the people, and religious leaders manipulate the people, to gain power over their lives and attain positions of prominence.

With His ears, He has heard the cries of men. He heard the cry of the widow, whose son had died, the leper who pleaded for a healing touch, and the publican, who cried out for mercy. He also heard the cries as the mob, who exalted Him as Lord one day, only to demand His death a few days later.

He also knows our sorrows . He sat with friends who lost their brother, and wept alongside them. More than knowing our sorrows as a comforter, He knows them as a victim. He learned first hand, the pain of betrayal, rejection, and hatred. His back felt the searing pain of the Roman whip, His brow the thorns, His hands and feet the nails. He knew the disgust of being spat upon, ridiculed and falsely accused. Yet he remained silent before His accusers, as he endured the cross and despised its shame.
As we face the pain, sorrow, and difficulty of life, and are tempted to raise accusations against God that he does not care or understand, remember, He not only sees with a watchful eye of heaven, but He, Himself, bore our sorrows and is acquainted with our grief.

Pastor Jim