Sunday, September 25, 2016

God Is In Control

God Is In Control

Psalm 66.7 He rules forever by His power,
    His eyes watch the nations—
    let not the rebellious rise up against Him.

We need to be reminded in these days that God is in control.

Tomorrow night's Presidential Debate at Hofstra will be the most viewed presidential debate in history.  The issues are huge. We have terrorism and unrest in places we never would have dreamed of. We can feel that things are out of control and in some realms they are but...

This is My Father's World
Last Verse:
This is my Father's world. 
O let me ne'er forget 
that though the wrong seems oft so strong, 
God is the ruler yet. 
This is my Father's world: 
why should my heart be sad? 
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! 
God reigns; let the earth be glad! 

The Psalms are among other things a medicine for the soul.  They speak to our inner being.  They can bring calm and assurance from the LORD. The Psalms give us the path upward, out of discouragement and troubling thoughts. They point us to Christ.

Psalm  66 reminds us that God is in control of our lives, the world and the future.

Our concerns lie in these realms. The world, our own lives and the future.

1. In The World

* There is Missions in This
Myrna- More Christians than communists in China today. The surest way to make something grow is to persecute it. There are missionary aspirations in this Psalm for the future, the time we are now in.

 *There is God's Involvement in the World's Affairs

He is the world's Watchman.

Psalm 66:7. He rules by His power for ever — The same power which God possessed and exerted for his people in the Old Testament, He still possesses today and is as able and ready to act for them as ever He was. He has demonstrated that to us over and over again. 

He rules by His power for ever - The idea is, that He does this constantly; in each age and generation. He never has ceased to rule; He never will. His dominion extends from age to age, and will stretch forward forever.  That unchanging power, His people may have faith in and take refuge in.

His eyes behold the nations — He sees all their secret and subtle devices, and can and will defeat them, when He sees fit. 

let not the rebellious exalt themselves] A warning to those who obstinately resist God’s will (Psalm 68:6, 18) to humble themselves rather than a prayer to God to humble them (Psalm 9:19).  God’s reproof of Sennacherib by Isaiah (Isaiah 37:23), “Against whom hast thou exalted thy voice and lifted up thine eyes on high?”

Let not the rebellious exalt themselves — Lift up their hands against God or His people. 
The wicked should fear.
His eyes behold the nations - All nations; all people. He sees all their conduct. They can conceal nothing from him. They should, therefore, stand in awe. The wicked have much to fear from One who sees all that they do, and Who has power to crush and destroy them. 

Sovereignty forever

Christ is coming to reign and anyone who resists that is in rebellion.

"they shall not be exalted in themselves for ever;''

The prowess displayed at the Red Sea is undiminished: the divine dominion endures throughout eternity. His eyes behold the nations. Even as He looked out of the cloud upon the Egyptians so does He spy watch His enemies, and mark their conspiracies. His hand rules and His eye observes. He oversees all and overlooks none. Let not the rebellious exalt themselves.

His eyes behold the nations. The root meaning of the word hku is au to shine, to examine with a bright eye; to inspect with a piercing glance, and thence to behold, for either good or evil, as Proverbs 15:3: "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." Here it is taken in an adverse sense, and means, to watch from a watch tower, to threaten from a lofty place. Ps 37:32: "The wicked watcheth the righteous; "and Job 15:22: He is waited for "from the watch tower for the sword; "that is to say, the sword is drawn above the head of the wicked, as if it threatened him from the watch tower of God. But, at the same time, there is also a reference to God's looking from the pillar of fire, and of cloud, upon the host of Pharaoh in the Red Sea. Ex 14:24.

His eyes behold the nations; the antichristian states. He sees all the idolatry and wickedness committed in them; and his eyes will be as flames of fire to destroy them, when the time is come. The allusion is to God's looking through the pillar of fire and cloud upon the Egyptians in the Red sea, and troubling them. Exodus 14:24
Over the whole world; for Christ will be King over all the earth in the latter day, Zechariah 14:9

Right now - The Great Commission is in effect Go into all the world and preach the Gospel, make disciples of all nations.
Jesus began those words with "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me..." This verse reflects those words... He rules forever by His power,
    His eyes watch the nations..."

God is watching and working powerfully all over the world.

His eyes are on the nations and His people bring light... The group from East Rockaway Church who went to Haiti and bought several goats for some families. I love it!

2. In Our Lives

There are times when we feel like things are out of control.
When tragedy comes.
When the enemy comes in like a flood.

What is going on in the world today
What is going on in nations affects us.

He overrules.
Romans 8.28 And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose. 

How He does this is amazing.
He is forever faithful.
He is the Master Weaver.
We see at this time just the backside of the tapestry.

God is in control...
3.Yesterday, Today and Forever 

He rules forever by His power

for ever= What is true for the past is true for the present and the future. God’s sovereignty is eternal. 
Psalm 145:13; Jeremiah 10:10

Jesus' death and life
Acts 7.51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.”

Acts 4.27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against Your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, LORD, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the Name of Your holy servant Jesus.”

God is in control. We need to remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 16.
"I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."

Just completed reading Revelation. We win. God rules.  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Heritage of Those Who Fear Your Name

The Heritage of Those Who Fear Your Name

Psalm 61.5

God Himself is that inheritance.

Can anything be better than that?! His people are described as fearing the Name of God; they are reverent worshippers; they stand in awe of the LORD's authority; they are afraid of offending him, they feel their own unworthiness  in the sight of the Infinite One. To share with such men, to be treated by God with like that should result in endless thanksgiving. All the privileges of all the ones who have feared His Name are also the privilege of each believer.

We have responsibilities as believers. Conversation with Pastor Jerry that I am feeling more responsibility because of the younger pastors who are asking questions, looking to us. We all influence people. I saw that this week, being with friends on several occasions that I had grown up with. Make your influence good. Do not ever underestimate the influence of a life of faithfulness.

Generations are affected by our lives. My cousin did some digging and sent me genealogical records this week of our family back to the mid 1800's in Brooklyn. I thought of my grandmother who was born in 1902 and how she came to Christ and that side of my family was deeply affected (still is). I thought of my Dad's side of the family and how as far as we can go back they  walked with God all the way back to the 1700's. My Dad and Mom met and married and raised their three kids to know Christ. I look at their lives and see faithfulness, strong hearts for God. I think of someone who died a few years ago and I was told by a relative, "Well he was a Christian, not  a strong one, but he believed." 
You can determine today to be a strong one! Maybe the first, like my grandmother was, on one side of our family. Your decision could affect generations to come.

We have responsibilities but this morning I want to share about the privileges we have. Fear God's Name, be spiritually responsible and you will inherit the heritage of those who fear the Name of God.

1. The Privilege of Prayer
Calling upon the LORD

Approaching the throne of Grace with confidence and presenting our requests with thanksgiving.

Hebrews 4:16King James Version (KJV)
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Philippians 4.6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

Seeing Him answer... conversation with Rudy this week, how we have seen God answer prayer.
When you see Him work... when answers come
Conversations in prayer times in Bible Studies.
Skilled sailors are not made sailing calm seas.

Intercessory prayer
Standing in the gap
Bridging the gap

2. The Blessings of Being an Heir Together With Christ.

Romans 8.14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.

*It gives us peace... children of God... children are taken care of by their parents... no cares or worries, with friends on the block I grew up on this week.

*It gives us Hope.

*It causes us to look beyond this life.

*It makes us expectant.
Grayson's birthday, watching the DVD of the announcement. Exciting.

*It raises the desire to be ready, watch, be alert and pray.

*It motivates us to tell others about Jesus.

The heritage of those who fear Your Name...
The privilege of prayer
The blessing of being an heir together with Christ
And finally this morning...

3. The Honor of Sharing in the Fellowship of His Sufferings

Philippians 2.10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

I Peter 3.15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

*It is our heritage.
Psalm 105.16He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
17and he sent a man before them—
Joseph, sold as a slave.
18They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
19till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the LORD proved him true. (13 years later)
20The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
21He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
22to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom.

*It is temporary

*It refines us.
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. I Peter 4.1

*It makes us like Jesus
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12.11

*It is a fellowship
Philippians 3.10 The fellowship of sharing in His sufferings

We share in the heritage of those who fear God's Name.

Psalm 103.1 Praise the LORD, Omy soul;
    all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O , my soul,
    and forget not all His benefits—
3 Who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 Who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

An Appropriate Prayer For Any Time

An Appropriate Prayer For Any Time

Psalm 57.5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let Your glory be over all the earth.

Our Father Who art in heaven. Hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Glory= Honor, splendor, reputation, reverence

God is holy. We are called to revere Him, to worship Him, magnify Him, praise Him.

It is a prayer to be prayed every day as the next line is "Give us this day our daily bread." I believe the day Jesus taught his disciples this they were in need of food, like in many areas in the world today where food is sought out each day. We have refrigeration and the ability to can items. Many places in the world do not. We have to recognize that the food we have is from the LORD. It is important to do that so we are thankful. 

From the Associated Press, Wednesday

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Carlos Parra used to love waking up to see his pet albino boxer, Nina. Now, seeing her skeletal body on the floor next to his bed has become a daily reminder of the economic crisis engulfing Venezuela. His other dog's thick fur barely hides her ribcage as Parra struggles to feed his pets after losing his job at a shoe store. "It's terrible to sit and eat, see them watching me with hunger, and not be able to do anything," said the 30-year-old. As Venezuela's economic crunch worsens, food shortages and rising poverty are forcing once middle-class Venezuelans to do the unthinkable: let their pets starve or abandon them in the streets.

David was in a tough spot to, say the least, when he prayed this. Jesus brought tests to His disciple about food. He asks Philip John 6.5-6 "Where shall we get bread so these people may eat?" Jesus said this only to test him for He already had in mind what He was going to do. How we waste time and energy worrying... or trying to figure things out! He, the LORD Jesus, already has in mind what He is going to do!

Matthew6.25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

A tough spot, a difficult time can aid in getting us to pray.
Before Jesus fed the 5,000 He prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the lunch of the young boy. We need to give thanks in abundance, when the pantry is full... we need to do it in part to remind ourselves that God is our Provider.

In times of disaster... 15 years ago today The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center came down in a terrorist attack as well as an attack on the Pentagon and a plane that was taken down by some heroes over Pennsylvania. It was natural to pray that day. I remember people asking for prayer on that day. We needed God's help.

In this time of disaster...
David prays that He would be exalted above all the heavens
exalted= rise up, be magnified

How is God exalted above the heavens, His Name revered in all the earth?

1. Physical Phenomena 
Over Robert Moses Monday evening, several others around the area- splendid! 
Someone said, "Look what Mother Nature put up in the sky." We know it was our Father in heaven.

We see the rainbow and remember the account of Noah and the ark and the covenant God made with the earth. We remember God is faithful to all His Promises, that He keeps His Word and He reminds us in such beautiful ways.

The clouds are around the earth and make us aware that when Jesus ascended a cloud hid Him from their sight (Acts 1.9) The Eleven who watched this event were told that He would come back  in like manner or the same way as they saw Him go.

-Sun. Moon and stars in their courses above...
Psalm 19.1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

2.This prayer of David in Psalm 57.5 is about Missions
Into all the world

Habakkuk 2.14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Psalm 22.27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him,

Matthew 28. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

From the call of Abraham to this present time God has been working to bless all the nations of the earth.

This prayer is about
3. God doing amazing things.
LORD, display Your Glory! That's what David is praying here. LORD, show Your glory to the whole world, all over the earth.

He is doing that today.
The ways the Gospel are going out.
The strength of the church in places we never dreamed of: Africa, China, Nepal
How Biblical Archeology confirms the Word of God.

Haiti Video

4. God's people worshiping Him.

God receiving the glory.
The rule of heaven coming to earth. The Beatitudes
The reverence of God that is in heaven coming to the earth.

Remember, Saul came in and went to sleep there in the cave. And David, when they were sound asleep, went down and he took his sword and cut off Saul's skirt. And then he got out of there and he got over a safe distance and cried, "Saul, look at what I've got." So he speaks about him falling in the net that they had prepared for me. "My soul is bowed down. They have digged a pit before me wherein the midst they have fallen."

David and Jesus were praying the same thing as they faced strong opposition and death. John 12 "Father glorify Your Name."

A wonderful prayer to pray, always appropriate.

Psalm 57.5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let Your glory be over all the earth.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

God Knows Our Pain

God Knows Our Pain

Psalm 56.8 Record my misery;
    list my tears on your scroll-
    are they not in your record?

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” Psalm 56:8 (NLT)

" You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?" NKJV

The word for bottle or scroll means skin or bottle. It can be either a scroll or a leather skinned bottle. I think it has a double meaning. But the primary one is

Tears= the juice that comes from weeping

Tears are treated by God as something very precious, Iike costly perfume.

Spurgeon tells of a man who had a collection of things from the Middle East... lachrymatory, or tear bottle, which had been found in a tomb at Thebes in Egypt.

Commentator Adam Clarke noted, "Here is an allusion to a very ancient custom, which we know long obtained among the Greeks and Romans, of putting the tears which were shed for the death of any person into small phials, called lacrymatories or urnae lacrymales and offering them on the tomb of the deceased. Some of these were of glass, some of pottery, and some of agate, sardonyx, &c. A small one in my own collection is of hard baked clay."

Tears are part of us. They are the juices that come from being crushed. Like the olive oil we spoke of last week, the olives are crushed and the oil comes out. So we, as we are crushed by life, tears flow from our eyes.

Isaiah prophesied concerning Jesus in Isaiah 53.10  Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer.
Gethsemane was the place of the Olive Press or where olives were crushed. 
We are told by Luke 22.44 And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

A few days earlier, just above the Garden of Gethsemane, on that same mountain,  Luke records in 19.41 As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Jesus weeping over the city, brokenhearted that they rejected Him and that rejection will bring about the destruction of it. 

Jesus shed tears at Lazarus' tomb.

Hebrews 5:7
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission.

Everyone experiences crushing times in their lives. If we are following Jesus we will have our times of deep pain. 

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16.33

1. Our Difficulties are recorded. Psalm 56.8

There are times as we struggle with pain we may wonder, "What is the use to this? What good is going to come out of this? How long will this go on?"

We remember the hard times we went through but God records them! He remembers the details. We know all things work together for our good if we love Him. 

The times of suffering and sorrow are the times when He is building our souls. They are times when He is drawing us closer to Him. They burn the dross off our lives. The times of pain bring into the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.

We talk about the injustices of it but then we look to Jesus ad saw what He suffered to redeem us, to save us. His trial and death was the biggest travesty of justice this world has ever known or will know.

2.  The LORD remembers our tears.
Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name" (Malachi 3:16).

Experts have proven that tears are good medicine for the healing of our souls and our bodies. Studies have found that “Having a good cry” is the body’s way or ridding itself of the toxins and waste products built up in the body during times of elevated stress. One study compared reflex tears and emotional tears (after peeling an onion and watching a sad movie, respectively). When scientists analyzed the content of the tears, they found each type was very different. Reflex tears are generally found to be about 98 percent water, whereas several chemicals are commonly present in emotional tears, including Adrenocorticotropic hormones which indicate high stress levels, and leucine-enkephalin, an endorphin that reduces pain and works to improve mood (A natural pain-killer).

Quote from Gene Edwards A Tale of Three Kings

"If you are asking me if I am a former thief and cave dweller and one who followed a sobbing, hysterical fugitive, then yes, I was one of the 'mighty men of David.'"

"Why, you make the Great king sound like a weakling. Was he not the greatest of all rulers?"

"He was no weakling," said the old man, "Nor was he a great leader."

"... The clearest memories I have of my king is when we lived in the caves... he lived a life of submission. Yes, David showed me submission, not authority. He taught me, not the quick cures of rules ad laws, but the art of patience. That is what changed my life. Legalism is nothing but a  leader's way of avoiding suffering. Rules were invented by elders, so they could to bed early."

David and Jeremiah were men of many tears.
David, a man after God's Own heart
Jeremiah, some said Jesus was he.

David in the Psalms:
Psalm 39:12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not Thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
Psalm 42.3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Jeremiah 13.17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD's flock is carried away captive.

In our pain we cry. That does not show our weakness but rather can indicate a depth of spirituality. We weep over cities, we weep over people, we weep when God's Word is disregarded... we are becoming more like Jesus.

Our personal pain is noted by the LORD, recorded by Him. It is ordained by Him. So often our questions about the LORD is why He allowed or better yet didn't stop tragedies in our lives. We do not see that He is in the work of confirming us to the image of Christ and that simply cannot happen without us going through suffering. We cannot become like Christ without a broken-heart.  We cannot become like Him without tears being shed. He does not leave us alone in these times although it might seem like He is far away. He records all of it in His scroll.

I have a "scented spice towel". On the instructions it reads, "Hang on oven door, refrigerator handle or any place you want the smell of fresh spices to fill the air. To reactivate just hit spice pocket with a hammer." Interesting, is it not, what crushing brings? 

In our pain..

We have His promises for today.
We have His promises of eternity. Its in the LORD's Supper. It is throughout the Bible. He will come again and put an end to our pain and all it causes...

3. One Day all tears will be wiped away by God. 
Revelation 21.1Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be Their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This will not happen until Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom.

Now that He is in heaven we fast, we wait, we at times are heartbroken.

Matthew 9.14At that time, John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees fast so often, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15Jesus replied, “How can the attendants of the bridegroom mourn while He is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast.…

Revelation 14.12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus.

Romans 8.23 
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us.

Welcome to those who joined us this week from Germany, France, 
The Ukraine, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Spain, The United Kingdom and