Pray for Help

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Psalm 79:1-13

Our Nation has been under attack for generations. However, the attacks have intensified as of late with a bloodthirst to destroy all things that have to do with the God of the Bible. From fighting for LGBTQ rights to tearing statues down of our history, there is a rebellion against God of likes that I have never seen in my lifetime. We have a movement called “Black Lives Matter.” Tis true! Black lives do matter as much as brown lives or yellow lives or white lives or any other color of lives. However, the movement “Black Lives Matter” is a movement that was started by two lesbians who are against things of God and His Word and seek to destroy the very foundation–the true fabric of any Nation–the family (you can see what they truly believe here: https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/). They want to see the pattern established by God in Genesis 2 for the institution of the family first and foremost.

We ought not be surprised by these extremes today. The Bible prophecies of how in the end times things in this wicked world will be tumultous and there will be much persecution in the last days before Jesus Christ returns to take His people home to be with Him. But these thoughts have been in the minds of believers for generations. Every generation has thought that the end days were present in their days. It is true! It has been the end times ever since Jesus ascended into heaven to take His rightful place on His throne next to God Almighty. However, we also understand that these are days of God’s lovingkindnesses being expressed with every Gospel presentation–every Gospel conversation that is had by believers for the lost, the unsaved. But it is harder and harder to share the faith we have because of the fears that envelope us because of the persecution from others. Dear ones, we ought not be frightened but encouraged for Jesus even said that because of His very name we would face trials, tribulations, and persecutions. We will be fulfilling His Word as we continue to speak His name!

So with all the destruction and chaos that appears to be reigning, we, like Asaph in Psalm 73, are seeking help from God. We are asking Him for help because we need help in the face of all these things that are happening. This is the twin to Psalm 74 where the Temple and the City of Jerusalem have been destroyed most likely by Nebuchadnezzar. Asaph is bringing to remembrance “God’s inheritance” that He has given His people. Here in Psalm 79 is the completion of the destruction found in Psalm 74. It is a national lament and it is a cry for help from Almighty God.

Like Asaph, we should ask God to take care of those who try to devour us. 79:1-7

The nations who have come against God’s people have defiled the holy temple of God in Jerusalem. They have laid waste the city where God has dwelt with His people. They have taken their hatchets and hammers and torn away the gold and the silver from the temple and they have torn down walls and buildings throughout. They have killed God’s people and left their bodies in the open for the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the fields to devour. Life is not their concern; only destruction, death, and dedication to their false beliefs and idolatries. They have made a mockery of God’s people and His people are now a reproach to the nations. They are scoffed and people are put off by His people.

Asaph asks an interesting questions: “How long, O Lord? Will You be angry forever? Will Your jealousy burn like fire?” His people are being judged for their own sins. They have committed sins against Holy God and God has used His enemies to bring chastisement to His own people. But then Asaph calls upon God to turn His anger toward His enemies–the very enemies that are being used by God. They don’t know Him nor do they call upon His name as His own people do even in the midst of destruction and chaos. The reason? Because they have devoured God’s people and laid waste the place where God has dwelt with them.

Like Asaph, we should ask God to help us in our times of distress. 79:1-7

Because God’s people have sinned, Asaph asks God to forgive the sins of their forefathers and to show His compassion on he and his companions. Humbly they come to the throne of grace seeking this compassion. And the cry for help goes forth to God because He is the God of their salvation. While the nations are saying to Asaph and his people, “Where is your God?”, vengeance is in the hand of the Lord! The servants of God who have humbly sought His compassion, those whose groanings have been heard by Him, will see the greatness of His power preserve those who are doomed to die at the hands of His enemies. Now this seems contradictory: to be preserved and yet doomed to die. The reality is that there will be those who belong to the God Almighty who will face martyrdom for their belief in Him. However, they will be preserved for eternity in Him. And God’s vengeance, God’s judgment, will be brought against His enemies sevenfold and they will become a reproach to the Lord for their reproach of Him.

These are distressed times in which we find ourselves. There is so much going on around us that we sometimes don’t really know where to turn. But like Asaph leading his people, we ought to turn to the Lord. And as he finishes this psalm, we should say: “So we Your people and the sheep of Your pasture will give thanks to You forever; to all generations we will tell of Your praise.” We will continually sing the praises of God and tell of His excellent grace and mercy which He has shown to us. We will continue to give thanks to Him forever for the compassion He has shown to His people by forgiving us of our sins. We will pray for God’s help and He will answer us.

Praise be to the God of the Bible! Praise be to the God that hears us when we ask Him for help!

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The Hiccups, Snapping Belt and Apple Sauce Incident

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So my two-year-old has had the hiccups this afternoon ever since I arrived at home. We tried everything to help get rid of them. My wife scared him at dinner time and they seemed to stop for a few minutes. Then, after hiccuping for several more minutes, I told my wife that I had shown my two sons a trick with my belt. That’s right — a trick with my belt. You know the trick: you fold your belt and with both your hands you snap the belt together.

Anyways…back to the hiccups. My son, after eating his plate of food, was asked by my wife if he’d like to have some apple sauce. That’s right — some apple sauce. I decided, in the most cunning way I could devise, to get my belt from my room, come up behind my two-year-old and snap my belt to scare the hiccups away.

Well, what transpired next was totally unexpected. That’s right — totally unexpected. Apparently, if you happen to come behind a two-year-old who has the hiccups while he is putting his spoon in his apple sauce and you happen to snap a belt behind him to scare said hiccups away he will inadvertently sling apple sauce all over the place! That’s right — all over his neck meat, his shirt, his booster seat and the floor.

Now the moral of the story is this: stepping in apple sauce that you thought you cleaned up off the floor feels really gross between your toes if you happen to be barefooted. That’s right — barefooted.

P.S. My wife is still rolling her eyes at me…

For God So Loved You!

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John 3:16 has been called “an ocean in a dew drop” because the meanings of this verse is oceanic. It has been called “a forest in the single leaf of tree” because of how magnanimous it is. It is the Word of God in a nutshell and there is no verse in all of the Scripture that so captures the attention of all people. Its truth goes far beyond anything that anyone can truly fathom. And it affects all people from every tribe, tongue, nation, and every color of people on the planet. In essence, it is the hub of the revealed truth of God Almighty who is able to still save today!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever beleives in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

For God So Loved the World

God loves because He is love. It is His very nature to love. He loves people because He is the kind of God that He is. John the apostle tells us that God’s love is shown in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. In recent times some scholars have argued that John sees God’s love as only for believers of Him, but here it is in plain language that God loves “the world.” Leon Morris adds that “The Greek construction puts some emphasis on the actuality of the gift: it is not ‘God loved enough to give,’ but ‘God loved so that He gave.'” This speaks of a costly love. God gave what is the dearest of all to Him, namely His only begotten Son.

Jesus Christ’s mission is bound to the supreme love of God for the evil, sinful “world” of humanity. These are the ones who are in rebellion against Him. As Paul the apostle puts, “There is none righteous, no not one,” and “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The Bible says, ethnically speakng, that the world is divided into Jews and Gentiles. This statement from Jesus Christ “For God so loved the world” would have rocked Nicodemus’ world. As a Pharisee, as a Jew, he would not have in his mind that God loved the “world” but just the Jews. In essence, Nicodemus would be considered a racist today having an abhorrence for the Gentiles. But Jesus makes it clear that eternal life is a possibility not just for the Jews but also for the Gentiles. God’s love is not confined to any national group or spiritual elite. His love proceeds from the fact that God is love. John affirms that God loves all people regardless of their ethnicity.

God Gave His Only Begotten Son

John the apostle uses the word “gave” in two senses. First, God gave the Son by sending Him into the world, but God also gave the Son on the Cross. Notice the cross is not said to show us the love of the Son but that of the Father. The atoning work of Jesus Christ proceeds from the loving heart of God. It is not something wrung from Him–it is Him! God so loved the world that He gave His “only begotten Son” which means His Son who is the most unique of all. To be “only begotten” emphasizes the greatness and costliness of the Gift! As Paul the apostle exclaims, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” James Montgomery Boice says, “Unique means being without a like or equal, single in kind or excellence, matchless. It is an important word, and it is particularly important at just this point in our study since it occurs twice in the space of five verses.”

The Greek term for “only begotten” is monogenes. It means “monos = alone + genosbirth, race, kind. It comes from the Greek word ginomai meaning to come into being, to become. This means that which is the only one of its kind of class or specific relationship and thus is unique or “one and only.” We see that Jesus Christ–God’s only begotten Son–is unique because there is no one like Him. He is unique in His person, birth, doctrine, works, miracles death, resurrection, and future triumphs. Jesus Christ is the very gift of God the Father to all the world.

Whoever Believes In Christ Shall Not Perish

Sola fide is the great word of the reformers. “Faith alone” is important because it is one of the distinguishing characteristics or key points that separate the true Biblical Gospel from all of the false gospels. Paul the apostle says in Galatians 1 that anyone who preaches something different than what he preached then they should be accursed. So how is man justified by God? Again, Paul makes it clear that man is “justified by faith in Christ and not observing the law” (Galatians 2:16). The rest of the Bible concurs with this idea as well. “Whoever” is a pronoun that flings open the doors of heaven to any person who beleives in Jesus Christ for salvation. The belief is in Him–Jesus Christ–which is shorthand for saying believing everything about Him–that He is fully Man, fully God, that He is without sin, that He died on the Cross as our substitute for our sins, and that God showed He was satisfied with His Son’s “sin offering” by raising Him from the dead.

This means that this salvation which is believed gives to anyone a new birth, eternal life, and salvation. Whoever believes in Him experiences salvation and is saved forever. Conversely, those who are “perishing” are damned by their sin. The ultimate sin God will not forgive is the sin of refusing to trust His Son, Jesus Christ. If one refuses to believe, the consequences are they will perish, lose their lives, and destruction will befall them. There is no third option: we either believe or we do not beleive. We are either by faith turning to Jesus Christ or refusing this Gospel message.

When we believe this Gospel of Jesus Christ, it means that we are accepting it as being true, genuine, and real. It means that we have the conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of God to save us through His only begotten Son. It means that we have been fully persuaded to obey God by accepting the gift of His Son and to believe in Him for salvation.

Whoever Believe in Christ Shall Have Eternal Life

Jesus Christ in John 3:16 is contrasting the difference between those who believe and those who do not. It is between those who are perishing and those who have eternal life. Every soul of man will spend eternity either in a state of spiritual death or spiritual life based on whether they have received this gift of salvation from God the Father which is only found in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Those who believe have a present possession and privilege as being a part of the family of God. And it will last forever.

As Dr. W.A. Criswell so aptly put it, “There are two words used for ‘life’ in the Greek New Testament. Zoe, meaning “life” in its absolute sense, as God has given it, is used in thsi verse. It signifies spiritual life in John. This word is frequently used for “eternal life” with its special emphasis upont he quality of life and its endless duration through the ages to come. Thsi life is available only through beliefe in God’s Son. The Biblical concept of ‘eternal life’ is more than immortality, and it involves not only the soul but also the body. From creation man was made for never-ending life, not for death. The death and resurrection of Jesus provide the basis for and give the picture of the divinely appointed redemption-life. “Life” in its purest and noblest sense is inextricably joined to regeneration.”

So Where Do You Stand?

Have you believed in Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life? Have you accepted the gift that God the Father so lovingly has given to the world? Are you aware of how much God loves you? If not, re-read John 3:16 and believe that He loved you enough that He gave His only begotten Son for you! For God so loves you!

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