With two straight weeks out of the pulpit, my voice was definitely not “in shape” for preaching two services again. I found myself raspy on Sunday after our services. But, being back at CLF, preaching God’s word to our people, was (and is) as special joy. I love that our people love God’s word; respect the preaching of God’s word; and are expecting the preaching of God’s word. I am very grateful for what the Lord has done at CLF and what He continues to do. I am often reminded of Psalm 115:1: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory…”
Cutting room floor:
There were a few things I left out of Sunday’s sermon because of time and clarity. So here are a couple of things that might be helpful for your growth and study:
- It seems that our culture and this world is always implying the question, “Where is your God?” Here are some samplings:
- Where is your God, is the question that some of the political elite shove in our faces when they look for answers for our society, outside of the care of God.
- Where is your God is the question that some educational elites twist in the minds of our young people, when they do everything they can to re-educate them to a world without God.
- Where is your God is the question of some of the counseling elites who would try to care for the hearts and souls of people without recognizing the God who is there.
- Where is your God is the question of some of the most powerful people in the world who would tell us that help is found in our economy, our strength, & our personal greatness, rather than a dependence upon Almighty God, who gave us all those things.
- What I find fascinating is that there is always something else or someone else who is the “answer” to our challenges. This is part of next Sunday’s message out of Psalm 2 and why do the nations rage? We, as Christians, must realize that there really are only two cities or kingdoms in this world: The City of Man and the City of God. Only one will last, expand, and be forever. And it’s sure not the one that we worry about all the time.
- There are several ways throughout this Psalm that David shows us how to hope in God. You can find similar thoughts on this by lots of other preachers and these thoughts are not original. But here are a few more ways of “how to hope in God” that I left out of the sermon yesterday.
- I think we should start with this fact…in order to hope in God, we need to battle for it. As I stated in the sermon, there are many reasons for discouragement. Therefore, hope in God…is a war.
- We also hope in God by asking God ‘Why?’ Psalms 42:9 says, “I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’” In the distance that David feels from God and in the derision from his adversarial son, Absalom, David isn’t shy about asking God ‘why?’ I think we often struggle with asking this question of God, for fear of it seeming like a lack of faith. But, if God is our closest friend (which He is), our closest confidant (which He is), and our closest ally (which He is), why, would we not ask the infinite, all-knowing God, to grant us some insight into ‘why’? It doesn’t mean, He’ll answer, but it sure does mean, we’re absolutely dependent on Him for that answer.
- We hope in God by singing. Notice vs. 8: “By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me…” I’m not sure what you do, but I’ve found singing or listening to good music about the glories of God a way to lift my discouraged soul. David does as well. Especially in those dark depressing nights. In Oregon, we know those evenings…rain has gone on for days; the sun goes down at 4:00; and it’s dark for a long time…sing, O my soul!
- We hope in God by praying to Him. Again vs. 8, “By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.” Prayer reveals that we NEED God…it’s a sign of dependence and desperation. Prayer is submitting our will to His and laying our hearts bare before God.
- We hope in God by remembering how good God is and much we need Him. Vs. 1-2 really show this: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” The reason we can thirst for God, is because we have tasted of His goodness before! We miss that sweetness. And one way to hope in God…is to remember…how God He is…He is not a sinister tyrant eagerly waiting to harm you and laughing like the Joker when disaster strikes. No! He is good, all the time, to His people. And when it feels like “wave upon wave” is crashing down on you, it is important to remember, He is good…even if your circumstances don’t seem like it.
- Quotes I found from my studies that I left out:
- “If every evil be let loose from Pandora’s box, yet is there hope at the bottom. This is the grace that swims, though the waves roar and be troubled. God is unchangeable, and therefore his grace is the ground for unshaken hope.” C.H. Spurgeon
- “Note well that the main hope and chief desire of David rest in the smile of God. His face is what he seeks and hopes to see, and this will recover his low spirits, this will put to scorn his laughing enemies, this will restore to him all the joys of those holy and happy days around which memory lingers.” C.H. Spurgeon
- “And, Lord, my soul in this depth of sorrow, calls for help to thy depth of mercy. For though I am sinking and going down, yet not so low but that thy mercy is yet underneath me.” John Bunyan
- “Myriads of spirits now before the Throne attest to the fact that the Grace of God is deeper than the depths of our sin, higher than the heights of our rebellion, broader and longer than the breadths and lengths of our depravity! Oh, the exceeding riches of the Grace of God!” C.H. Spurgeon
- Speaking of quotes…you might notice that I quote Spurgeon a lot. Well, there’s a reason for that. One is that Spurgeon wasn’t called “the Prince of Preachers” for nothing! He’s one of the most knowledgeable and quotable pastors of all-time. But, in reality, his work The Treasure of David is simply one of the best commentaries on every Psalm. It was actually Spurgeon’s life work. So, throughout this series, I have been using this resource. You can find it online at: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/treasury-of-david/.
Fall into Community:
With fall approaching and school starting, we begin our next ministry year (from September-August). With that, our groups ministry will begin to take on “front-page” news at CLF. This year, thankfully, we will have 12 community groups. Soon, we will have information out about every group and opportunities for folks to sign-up for groups. If you’re interested in joining a group, feel free to get a ahead of the curve a bit and email the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org. This should be a fantastic year for community life at CLF.
From the Cheap Seats:
- Clevinger to the Padres?? Not sure if any of you have watched Fernando Tatis Jr. play baseball, but you should. That team, which is never good…is good!
- Teddy Bridewater’s story is pretty amazing: https://sports.yahoo.com/teddy-bridgewater-expresses-gratitude-for-his-devastating-knee-injury-four-years-ago-152708443.html
- And so is Alex Smith’s: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29112995/alex-smith-comeback-fight-save-qb-leg-life
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.