Monday, February 25, 2013

Psalm 23 Comfort and joy Thirteen

So, how did you do last week? Did you see God? That is did you see God working in your life, the rod as power for protection, security...or the staff as guiding, leading, rescuing...or have you thought back to times that God did something for you. It is very important to recognize when God is doing things... for you. Be it big things or small things. It is also important to recognize when God is working in the body of believers, also. So stop for a few minutes think about the things that God is doing, He's working...He's doing...Yes, our God is alive and well, He is active. Why is it so important to see God working? Well if you think about the section of Psalm 23:4c we are looking at "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." We only talked about, the rod and staff. We didn't talk about how they comfort. You see you can't have the comfort of God without seeing God working at some time or times in your life. You experience His comfort, it is real. Yes, we read about it in the word...we believe, we have faith...Yes, we need all this but our faith also involves real life experiences. For example You ask for forgiveness of a wrong...(sin) you have done... God forgives you and you experience peace...the burden is taken away. Hopefully the same happens when we ask of our brothers and sisters. Being forgiven, doesn't that bring you comfort? Now to comfort. Let's try to understand this word a little more; it will bring you more "comfort" as you apply it to this Psalm. We usually think of comfort, as comfortable, nice things...but it also has other meanings or expanded meaning. For example strengthening, aid; can you see that God does this, with His rod and staff? Have you ever asked for strength, wisdom...Another meaning of comfort is to condone, in time of trouble, worry...We talked about that a little bit a few weeks ago but He also comforts us in times of trouble...Has God worked for you in your times of trouble, worry...Has He made difficult or hard problems...go smoothly? Sometimes he uses His rod, power but for me mostly He guides me through. Even when I am still being stubborn. Let me tell you when God is helping me...it brings great comfort. When I hear of God working in people lives...it brings me comfort and joy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Psalm 23 Rod and staff Twelve

Have you ever been lost? As children being lost is not a fun experience; in fact it is a fearful...experience. As adults we think of being lost as not being able to find our way to a particular destination. Some may even think of it as the unsaved. But if you really think about it we get lost in so many ways. Not sure of directions to take in the decisions of life or is it O.K. to do this or that...that feeling of indecision, direction...it's like being lost; not knowing which way to turn, where is______, what is this or that about... Psalm 23:4c "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." "Your rod and Your staff", two different things even though similar. The rod here is a club, a weapon to defend against predators... a sign of security. Now the staff if something different, it is a long pole type with a crook at one end. Remember the children stories? Little Bo Peep, The Charlie Brown Christmas...It is for guiding and rescuing. Isn't our God great! Here we have illustrations of God. First a God of strength and power, rod. Next we have God as leading and caring, staff. What is so great is that there are two different things that show His might...You see our God is so much more than we can imagine, when we need the guidance we see the staff. When we need power, protection we see the rod. Have you followed the staff of God? We sing the songs about following God but have you taken the time to recognize when God has been, "waving"..., His staff for you to see and follow? Also have you seen when God has been using His rod to protect you? You see our God is active, doing more than we can see, but so many times we don't even recognize anything that God is doing and we miss Him doing His work...You know that He loves us so much He's working all around, His rod and His staff. Stop and take a look. Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble." verse 10 "Cease striving(Be still) and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Psalm 23 Hope eleven

As I write this week my heart is sadden. Sometimes life is just hard; something happens to you or a loved one, a friends...be it hard times...sickness and even death. As we mentioned before we live here on earth and it's not perfect; we also have bodies that are not perfect, we all will die one day. Well this week a friend went through this ordeal of sickness to death. It was hard on me, but I can't imagine all the pain.... the family is going through. Never mind the trying to go through life in the future. It's hard to be talking about this at this time but this is where our study is right now. For the most part we have been talking about going through the trials of life and the fears that are part of life. We haven't talked about death. Yes, that is also a part of life. I'm not going to go to deep here but hopefully what is said will enable some of you to go deeper. You see as believers we have "hope" in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. That "hope" is eternal life and so much more. There is a peace that comes from that "hope". It doesn't mean that we don't have hurts...when something happens. Instead we have a bold confidence that our God can do what He promises. Psalm 23:4b and 6b "for You (God) are with me;" and "And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." You see my friend has this "hope" in Jesus Christ and his family also has this "hope". That one day we will see him again in heaven. It doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt, that we won't miss him...but we know he is in good hands and in a better place. That someday in the future our time will come and we will see him again. How blessed it is when we know that God is with us...So when these times come we have "hope". Do you have Jesus? Do you believe He is the Son of God? That He rose from the dead and is alive? That He paid the price so you can have eternal life? Is John 3:16 a truth that you believe? "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Psalm 23 More fear ten

What were we talking about? That's right fear! Last time we talked about let's say, fear in general, maybe a little of fear of men and situations; but on a "small" scale, that is little fears. Even though some might consider the example big. We also came to grips that fear is a real thing and it affects both men and women. We listed some words associated with fear so we can understand fear better. One word that caught my attention was worry, did that also get your attention? As men do we worry? Yes, is the answer for many of us. We might put things off as concerns; but really we are worried about, whatever it is. So what is one thing that is big for us as men? What I'm going to do is to group these areas into one word, that is work. Be it lack of work, not enough money, the feeling of failure, of providing or not measuring up....you look over at others and wonder what am I doing wrong; why do I struggle? I work hard...Does my family understand, I'm trying...don't have enough money for this bill of that bill...Then something breaks, you live from pay check to pay check and it seems that the hole is getting bigger... Have you ever seen the movie "RV"? Well it's about a guy, whose job is in trouble, His boss is on his case about doing better or he will replace him with, Larry. So instead of going on vacation to Hawaii; he rents an R.V. so that he can work and drive it to where a big company meeting is going to be, so that he can make his presentation. (doing this without telling his wife). All in an effort to save his job. Now during that trip he does some stupid things. But when his wife and children find out, he says this, "I didn't want you to know that my job was in trouble". You see for us men there is that fear, of work, and it also hits in all types of ways. It is real, I know I'm not the only one. The fear of not performing at work....and not performing as to providing for the family needs. The need to be respected and needed, at work, at home...feeling of being important... Let's face it, it is real for us men! We need help in our work; His help. We need help at home; His help. Ps. 146:5 "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in Jehovah his God: Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in the; who keepeth truth forever; Who executeth justice for the oppressed..." You know it is a great feeling when we rely on God. That is when we are able to do our everyday things with Him helping us. We should be happy, full of thanks and praise...We have a God who cares; who cares for each of us. Sometimes we just need to stop and ask for help. It seems easy, just ask for help, but we are men....we try to do things...on our own. That sense of accomplishment-well it is still there when we ask God for help. It is more rewarding when God helps, try it and see. The creator of heaven and earth wanting to help you.