Cannot Be Moved

Psalms 125:1
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.”

4,000 years ago Abraham was instructed to take his son to Mount Zion and offer him to the Lord. 2,800 years ago David purchased the threshing floor of Ornan on top of Mount Zion so his son Solomon could erect a permanent house for the Ark and a place for Israel to worship. 2,000 years on that same mountain the son of God was sacrificed for the sins of all mankind as a means of providing salvation for anyone who would humble themselves and call upon the name of the Lord. And today countless people from all over the world make pilgrimages to mount Zion to reflect upon these events and so many more. Millions of visitors, thousands of storms, hundreds of wars and mount Zion has yet to be moved.

The psalmist boldly declares that those who trust in the Lord will be just like mount Zion. Although time passes and difficulties come, those who trust in the Lord will be as unmovable as mighty mount Zion. Not only will our lives be unshakable but they will one day have a testimony to share with all who are willing to take a look. That testimony will declare the faithfulness of the Lord regardless of our failures or the tragedies and triumphs of life.

Jim

 

Count On The Promises Of God

Psalm 108:12
“Give us help from trouble,
For the help of man is useless.”


David knew what it was like to receive help from others. One of the greatest stories in the Bible speaks of a time when he was so deeply discouraged that he felt as though there was no hope. It was into that scene that his friend Jonathan appeared and “strengthened David’s hands in the Lord.” In another place, David famously wrote

Psalms 133:1 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Clearly the king knew the value of fellowship and had often experienced the help of man. It might seem almost contradictory then for him to speak of man’s assistance being useless. However I think we have all known times in our life where we appreciate the kindness of others but have found their words to be too weak to actually provide us with the help we need. There are situations in life that create a hurt so deep that only the Words of God Himself can bring us the comfort and hope we need. I am so glad that the promises of God were designed for seasons in life like that. When all else fails it is good to know that the promises of God are always yes and amen and that there is no force in heaven or earth that is strong enough to break them. Jesus said that a day will come when heaven and earth will pass away, yet not even the smallest marking within His promises will fail.

Whatever circumstances you are facing you can count on the promises of God.

Pastor Jim

 

Tested 

Psalms 105:19
“…The word of the Lord tested him.”

This psalm recounts the faithfulness of God during the days of the patriarchs. After mentioning Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Psalmist reminds us of the struggles Joseph faced after being sold into slavery by his own brothers. We know he experienced betrayal, beating, false accusations and imprisonment. Each trial he faced was a means by which the Word of God put him to the test.

We face similar experiences that put us to the test. When we face heartache, confusion, difficulty or disappointment, we are essentially being put to the test by the promises of God. We are left to decide if we will trust in the scattered array of emotions we face, or in the ever changing experiences of life, or in the unchanging promises of God. Down through the ages, saints have faced extremely difficult experiences. Some have allowed these to undo their faith and even sideline them from their Master’s service. Others have chosen to cling to the promises of God, allowing them to provide comfort and direction, as they continue following Christ. There is little question that we will face trials in life. It is important that we realize,  the promises of God can stand the test of trials. God will be faithful to His word, and His promises will carry you through till the end.

Pastor Jim

 

Innumerable Promises 

Numbers 34:2
“Command the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries.”

Israel stood on the brink of entering the promised land. For almost five hundred years the people had heard stories of the land of their fathers. They referred to it as the land of milk and honey, and longed to settle down and enjoy its fruits. Before entering in, Moses reminded them of how vast the land was; He spoke of its borders from the far northern hills to the southern dessert and from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. The land represented the abundant life God desired for His people to walk in, but before they could enjoy any of it, they had to be willing to do battle. The land was given as a promise, but received through continuous warfare.

The Christian life is a lot like that. We have been given great and precious promises that result in a life that surpasses any and all circumstances. We are promised peace that passes understanding, joy unspeakable, love shed abroad in our hearts, power to overcome sin and fear, and a life filled with the fruit of righteousness. We are told we can have a marriage that honors God, testifies to others, and blesses us. We are told we can have children who will rise up and call us blessed, and that we can leave a righteous heritage behind for them to follow. We are told, our lives can be a witness to others so they can see our good works, glorify our Father in heaven, and be drawn into a relationship with Christ. The promises of God are almost innumerable, but just as the promise given to Israel, much of these are only received through continuous warfare. If we are going to walk in the abundant life God has promised, we must be willing to fight for it.

This fight is not against others, but against the desires we have within ourselves for things that God forbids. Some of the attacks are continuous. There are certain easily besetting sins we must always be aware of and resist. Other attacks seem to come from no where. We are suddenly and unexpectedly hit with fear, depression, guilt, unworthiness, or some other intense emotion that tells us to flee from the battle and cower like Gideon in his cave. If we are going to win the battle and walk in the promises of God we must fight. We must learn to counterattack the enemies of faith with the promises of God.

Whatever you are facing today, take some time to dwell on the love, grace, mercy and power of God. Don’t look your enemy straight in the eyes, but look at him through the glorious promises and power of the God who loves you and died for you.

Until we all taste the sweet victory of walking in abundant life,

Pastor Jim

 

Promises

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The Bible is like a treasure chest filled with great and precious promises. It is designed to help the child of God navigate his way through life, and provide comfort during times of difficulty. While these promises are seemingly endless, there are certain ones that have had tremendous impact upon believers, down through the ages. Jeremiah 29:11 is one such promise. Written to a group of believers facing dark and difficult times, this verse is designed to provide hope, help and consolation.

Due to years of wandering from the ways of God, the people of Israel were overthrown by Babylonian forces. In accordance with the practices of the day, the defeated were taken captive to Babylon. Now, living as prisoners of war in a foreign land, where they did not speak the language or know the customs, all seemed hopeless. The natural response would be to wallow in self pity, for how they had failed God and ruined their lives. Instead of writing a message to condemn them, Jeremiah gives them a promise that includes hope for now and for generations to come. He promises them that God not only thinks about them, but He thinks good thoughts that will provide them with a future. In a similar passage, Paul wrote concerning the child of God;

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Those in a relationship with Christ, are now walking a path that will lead them into the plans God has designed for them. We will find abundant life and a purpose for living when we begin to walk according to the ways of God. We will begin to see crooked ways made straight, as God repairs relationships we destroyed, through a lifestyle of selfishness and sin. We will see God transform our homes, and make us a witness to others of His grace, love and goodness.

As beautiful as these promises are, they have no meaning if we are not willing to surrender our ways to the Lord. Those in Babylon who refused to trust God and obey His word, lived as those these promises were never given. They had the living Word of God at their disposal, and were unaffected by its promises. It might be worth taking a few minutes to evaluate yourself in light of the promises of God. Have you surrendered your life to Christ? Have you removed things that are not pleasing to Him from your lifestyle? Are you seeking to live a life that pleases Him? As you do, He will unwrap these promises and work them into your life.

Pastor Jim

Faith

Hebrews 11:1-2
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.”

We have arrived at one of the most amazing chapters in all of the Bible. It has been aptly entitled, “The Hall of Faith.” It records incidents from the lives of many Old Testament saints who, in the midst of extreme difficulty, chose to put confidence in the Lord. Whenever we are faced with trying times, we have the choice between trusting in circumstances, emotions, or the eternal Word of God. Another way of looking at it, we can trust in what we see, or in what He says. These men and women chose to put confidence in the Words of God, and by doing so, have obtained a great testimony. We are told, although they have long since died, their lives still speak to us today. They are saying, no matter what you are facing, you can trust the promises of God. Let’s take a moment to admire a few of the influences confidence in God’s promises, brought about in the lives of those who trust in His Word.

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Over and over again we will read of the fruit of faith. The phrase “by faith…” is repeated 19 times in this chapter. Verse 3 is its first occurrence where we are told, understanding of things we could never grasp on our own, is found by putting confidence in the promises of God. One of the great dilemmas in life is confusion; not knowing how to handle a situation because we have never faced it before. The devil seems to have a field day when we are faced with confusion. He uses it to fill us with fear, anxiety, and even depression. What a joy to know that by faith we can understand the ways of God. The solution in our trying times is to go to the Word of God, locate the promises of God, and cling to Him.

Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

We read, by faith Abel offered, Enoch walked, Noah prepared, Abraham obeyed, Sarah was strengthened, Isaac and Jacob blessed, Joseph instructed, Moses refused, Israel entered, and Jericho collapsed. All of the great accomplishments of these men and women were brought about not because they had strong gifts, perfect circumstances, helpful friends, or super human strength. They accomplished great things because they chose to trust in the promises of God, and those promises never fail. I wonder how our lives will be recorded? If we are to honestly evaluate how we are living, how would we finish the sentence “by faith he/she …”

Whatever you are facing, there is a promise for that, and that promise along with the Spirit of God will enable you to live a life that will prove to be a good testimony to those who follow. Put your trust in the promises of God today.

Pastor Jim

Not Listening 

Jeremiah 18:18
“Then they said, ‘Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come and let us attack him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.’”

The citizens of Judah no longer looked to the Word of God for direction in life. They had forsaken the Lord and His ways, seeking to become like the nations they were supposed to evangelize. Jeremiah arose to call the people back to the Lord. Over and over again, he reminded them of the folly of leaving the Lord, and the danger of sin. He compared life apart from the Lord to a shrub in the desert, while following the Lord was like being a lush and fruitful tree. He warned of the coming destruction on the nation. He promised that God, as the master potter, could take the broken pieces of the nation, redeem them, and make them beautiful once again. Instead of heeding the message, examining their lives, and turning back to the Lord, most of the people became enraged at Jeremiah and sought to have him silenced. Soon he was arrested for speaking the truth of God. Perhaps the charges against Jeremiah were that of inciting hatred or being intolerant.

Jeremiah’s experiences are all too common. They have been repeated time and time again throughout history. Even now, we see them unfolding before our very eyes. Instead of allowing the Word of God to correct the way we live, we are finding that those who speak the truth are being accused of wrongdoing, themselves. My prayer is that we will see revival happen once again in our nation. However, I believe we must brace ourselves for a frontal attack upon Christianity and the Word of God. We must be prepared to be looked down upon, for the truths we live and preach.

Times will continue to alter and adapt. Cultural mores will change like fashions, but the Word of God will remain an unchangeable bedrock, upon which life can always be built, guided and judged. Let’s be faithful to look to the Word, as we seek to navigate our way through life.

Pastor Jim