Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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5 The Cry of Thanksgiving – Part 1

Psalms 107

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. 2 Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. 3 For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.

Psalm 107 starts with a call to give thanks to the Lord, it is a proclamation of His power, presence, and protection, it is the cry of thanksgiving. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! It is really about two cries, a cry for the Lord and about the Lord. Psalm 107 deals with God’s deliverance of 4 different groups of people, their difficulties were different but their deliverer was the same.

  • The 1st group ‘The Wanderers’ (Need Direction)

4 Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless.”

This is the group who has lost their way, they walk through life without true direction or a deep sense of belonging. Drifting from place to place, they are up and down, here today and gone tomorrow. Through hurts or a series of wrong choices they just go through life a little numb, wandering through life with little peace or rest, constantly searching, and never settling. The result: 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. They long for something more but do not know where to turn. They have a desperate hunger and intense thirst but everything they have tried leaves them empty, so they are never content. Unsatisfied and with the attitude of, “this is all there is, this is all I deserve” they end up on the verge of exhaustion.

But…..Here’s the first Cry… 6  “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He rescued them from their distress. 7 He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live.

He heard their Cry and answered them. At the last moment, as they are fading away, they cried out. Charles Spurgeon writes:

‘Some men will never pray till they are half starved, and for their best interests it is far better for them to be empty and faint than to be full and stouthearted. If hunger brings us to our knees it is more useful to us than feasting; if thirst drives us to the fountain it is better than the deepest draughts of worldly joys; and if fainting leads to crying it is better than the strength of the mighty.’

Deliverance comes on the heels of prayer and God didn’t just show them the way out, He delivered them and led them by a straight way, for there is only one way. Why do we always seem to take the long way home? Maybe because it takes a long time before we stop long enough to admit we are lost. Do you want God to lead you to a place where you can settle, where you can belong, lay down roots and live. Then cry out, you don’t have to go round and round you can experience direction and return. The second part of the wanderers cry is a cry of homecoming : 8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. 9 For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

Has God directed you out of the desert will you praise? He is the one who satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry who gives direction to the lost and a home to the wanderer.

  • The 2nd Group ‘The Prisoners’ (Need Deliverance)

10 Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. 11 They rebelled against the words of God, scorning the counsel of the Most High. 12 That is why he broke them with hard labor; they fell, and no one was there to help them.

The thought of sitting in darkness and the deepest gloom really speaks of isolation, it brings a sense of fear, abandonment despair and hopelessness. What lurks in the dark is every nightmare imaginable. The sad thing is that these prisoners put themselves in this situation, they turned away from God. They rebelled against the words of God and despised His counsel, they heard and chose to go in another direction. Look where it led them into bondage, they labor and work and stumble. There is no rest while in bondage, no pity or sympathy, because no one is around to help. So they become prisoners in the chains of their choices.

The second CRY….13 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 14 He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; he snapped their chains.

He brought them out, again he did not show them the way out, “Uh the door is over there”, He brought them out personally as He broke away their chains. You don’t have to be a prisoner, you can be free, do you need to cry out and experience deliverance and be released.

The second part of the prisoners cry is the cry of freedom 15 Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. 16 For he broke down their prison gates of bronze; he cut apart their bars of iron. God desires to deliverance us from our bondage, to break the chains and tear down the gates that bar our way to freedom.

Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out, stop right now and give thanks.


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4. Help, I Need You Now

Psalms 3:1-3:8

O Lord, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. 2 So many are saying, “God will never rescue him!” Interlude 3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. 4 I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. 5 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. 6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.

One day, a mother explained to her five-year-old daughter that if she chose to disobey her, she would have to live with the consequences. “Oh, Mommy!” she said with a terrified look on her face. “Please don’t make me live with the Consequences. I want to live here with you!”

We all live with consequences, don’t we?  With the consequences of the choices we have made. Psalm 3 is David’s cry for help due to the betrayal by his own son Absalom, but to truly understand the betrayal we have to look further back into David’s life. David’s problems began with the sin of adultery as he took the wife of Uriah the Hittite, but it was soon followed with murder as David killed Uriah to try and cover up his sin. From this point onward, David had to live with the consequences of his sin. Years later, one of David’s sons, Amnon, raped his half-sister Tamar, this enraged Tamar’s full brother, Absalom who sought revenge, and got it, by killing Amnon. When David learned about Absalom’s crime, instead of dealing with him he allowed him to leave Jerusalem. David had committed the same crime, he too had , murdered over sexual sin and he had lost the moral authority to deal effectively with Absalom. In time, the undisciplined Absalom, who thought he was morally superior and a worthier leader than his father, mounted a rebellion. It was a rebellion that caught David completely by surprise; all he could do was flee on foot, weeping as he went. Think for a moment of the shame David must have felt being opposed and hunted down by his own son, yet he was reaping the consequences of the bad choices he had made. So, “the man after God’s heart” who had rejoiced in great victories was now characterized by failure, loneliness, and disappointment. Have you ever been there, have you ever felt like a failure because of the poor choices you have made? In the consequences of his poor choices David cries out to God and we see him experiencing the:

  • PROBLEM verses 1-2.

There are times when we feel outnumbered and it all seemed like a hopeless mess. David cries out to God because he was dealing with the rising tide of disloyalty. Both family and friends have turned against him, now they have become enemies and they surround him. There are times when our situation makes us feel like giving up hope. Yet it was more than just how he felt, his enemies were saying that God had given up on him, that God was not going to deliver him. There are times when we feel like we are outnumbered and there are times when we are being told that we are. It not only seemed hopeless, but it was communicated to him that it was hopeless. Words can make a profound emotional impact upon us. Have you ever felt like the situation was hopeless, and then been told that it was?

  • PRESENCE verses 3-4.

The problem is just a place where we come to know that more than anything else we need God’s presence in our life because we are powerless. Davis reveals two aspects to God’s power:

Shield

David refers to God as His shield, an instrument of defense and protection. When we come into the presence of God we step behind His shield of protection. God not only becomes our defense but His protection is all encompassing. David is shielded on all sides, protected from above, beneath, around, without and within. Sometimes we feel that our problems surround us but it is really God’s protection that encompasses us. We will never experience God’s power in the problem apart from His presence. Do your consequences cause you to turn to the creator or complaining? Whose presence are you going to do life in, the problems or the person of Jesus?

Glory

David then refers to God as his glory, David’s hope is not wrapped up in himself, his hope is wrapped up in God’s Presence. David is proclaiming that it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with God. The consequences of his sin have dethroned David he has no glory to show for his effort, earthly esteem is transient and fickle. As David cries out to God He answers from His holy mountain because unlike David, He is still on His throne radiating His glory. Many of us are blinded by the allure and brilliance of our own glory. It’s not until we experience the darkness of our consequences and our glory is dashed against the jagged rocks of sin that we truly realize He is our glory.  It’s in the darkest moments of our life that his glory shines brightest. When we are passionate for His Presence, we have all that we really need. Who is your shield and glory, is it you striving to perform or God as you stop pretending and come into His presence?

  • PERSPECTIVE (verse 3)

Many times when we fail we become downcast yet David teaches us that we don’t have to stare at the ground ruminating on our failure. It’s in the presence of God that our perspective changes and we look up because the Lord lifts us up. Often we have a false sense of looking up and our heads are held high because of pride. Yet in his presence we experience His power over the pain as He lifts our heads high not for our glory but so that we can see His. Pride never lifts up it always throws down but God wants to lifts us up in the midst of rejection and dejection. What is the source of your head being held high, is it your pride or His presence?

  • PEACE verses 5-6.

Living with the consequences of sin can leave us feeling paralyzed by anxiety and inner turmoil. Instead of comfort we have conflict, we become tired and worn out yet in His presence we experience rest. Have you responded to the invitation to rest in Him? This is more than just good night’s sleep, it’s experiencing his peace in the problem. Even encircled by the consequences of our own sin, we can confidently face the worst when we are dependent on God’s Presence. Time with God replaces fear with faith, doubt gives way to depending and confiding in Him builds confidence.