Pressing On

January 3, 2015


Celebrate Jesus.crimsonjpg

SCRIPTURE

I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize.

~Philippians 3:12, CEV

QUOTE

Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends.

~Brian Tracey

my thoughts red

Believe it or not, I like classical music and I am especially fond of any type waltz. I love cello music, even solo’s. The best Cello player of last century was a Spaniard named Pau Casals i Defilló, he went by Pablo Casals. He lived to be 97 but even in his 90’s he practiced his cello six hours per day. When someone ask him why, he said, “Because I think I’m making progress.” Wow, I like that attitude.

Reminds me of the 97 year old woman living in an assisted living facility. When her pastor came for a visit, she told him she wanted to rededicate her life. The Lord had convicted her about some specific things that she wanted to change. Are you concerned about making progress or have you reached a point of being satisfied the way you are?

extra 2

  • Today we pray for STUDENTS. Pray for revival to break out among our students.
  • The rain probably made it tougher on some folks, especially those driving back from New Orleans but it actually helped me, I love rain and I love driving in the rain when I’m not in a hurry. I spent the morning with Jesus and Kenny and the company of both was refreshing.
  • I had a superb visit with Kenny this morning or yesterday if you read this on Saturday. He was looking for me to return New Years night but I would not have been good company for anyone. When I walked in, Sheila said, “He doesn’t want to talk about football” and I said, “Neither do I.” BUT we talked for 30 minutes about football and then we changed the conversation to farming. I am taking him video today of the 6 row cotton picker that produces round bales and never stops; just spits them out like prunes and keeps going.
  • I want you to pray for Kenny and my nephew Henry. Henry has been moved to HH and he is laboring to breath. He has a tumor in his right lung and I think maybe some COPD. He felt bad Thursday but even worse today [Friday]. Pray for the pneumonia to get better and for Henry to get some rest. He has not had a good nights sleep in a while. He sleeps sitting up: it is the only way he can breathe. June has always had a soft spot for Henry and she went with me today [Friday]. Several years ago, Henry said he would go to church but he had nothing to wear: June bought him an entire outfit and he mentioned it while we were there: she and I had forgotten but he had not. Keep doing those acts of kindness folks. The things you consider small just might make a huge impression. As a favor to me, would you stop and say a prayer for Henry and Kenny. I beg you in the name of Jesus…say a prayer.
  • Full schedule this Sunday but starting time is 8:15 for Deacons, 9:15 for LCBS and 10:15 CELEBRATION OF JESUS. Sunday morning we will be preaching on the Characteristics of a hypocrite. Sunday night at 6:00, the Law of Self-Exaltation, Lord willing of course.
  • Three year ago yesterday [January 2], we helped officiate the COLS for my father in the ministry, Calvin C. Inman. He made a huge impression on my life.

 

EXTRA/LIFE CHANGING BIBLE STUDY LESSON PREVIEW

Ice Breaker: What New Year’s resolution did you make this year?

What are the most common New Year’s resolutions?

  1. Lose weight
  2. Begin exercising
  3. Get out of debt
  4. Spend more time with family
  5. Watch less TV
  6. Give up college football
  7. Read one book per month
  8. Break the habit of running late
  9. Get alone with your mother-in-law
  10. Be nice to Willard

Spiritually Related Resolution

  1. Start tithing
  2. Share the gospel
  3. Attend worship faithfully
  4. Do an act of kindness each day
  5. Read the bible through in a year
  6. Begin a quiet time.
  7. Visit the nursing homes once a month.
  8. Go on a Mission Trip
  9. Sponsor some one to go on a Mission Trip
  10. Build a Guatemalan family a house.

What’s the difference between a RESOLUTION and a REVOLUTION?

{A resolution is something we attempt to do in our strength. A revolution is surrendering control to a new power}

New Years Resolutions have worked BUT what are the percentages? Do more fail than work?

1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! 
4 A River brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.
5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.
6 The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!
7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. 
8 Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how he brings destruction upon the world.
9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. 

This is a great Psalm, it is a celebrative Psalm {Song} written by David after he had subdued all the nations around Israel. The Psalm begins with the most important words in the bible…“God is”…and then it precedes to tell us who God is…

  1. God is our REFUGE….when we are being pursued, persecuted, hunted, stalked, we can run to God who is our hiding place.
  2. God is our STRENGTH….when we feel oppressed, worn out, exhausted, week…God is our strength [our resolutions fail because of our human weakness, we need God’s strength]
  3. God is our HELP. God never calls us to do anything that we can do a part from His grace, we need His help!

Then he moves to our human frailty

  1. I will not fear…Insecurity
  2. Catastrophic change…earth give way and mountains fall into the sea.
  3. Overwhelming circumstances…earthquakes, tidal waves, surging waters, devastation

It is easy to get overwhelmed by life’s sorrows and some times they do hit like a 100 foot tidal wave. We cannot stand against them: our hope is in higher ground. Jesus is our refuge and hope. I have a nephew who will be 53 in February. He has been feeling bad for a year or so. He got to the point where he could not work a full day. Then he lost his appetite and he weighed only 130 to begin with. Pain in his right shoulder was keeping him awake at night. He didn’t have medical insurance and he had a hard time finding a doctor who would see him. We saw him on the Friday night before Christmas [Dec. 19]. New years day he is in the hospital and laboring to breath. They have found a huge mass in his right lung. He cannot lay down without smothering. He sleeps, what little he gets, sitting up in bed. He has not eaten in days and he cannot get a good nights rest. I’ve been there the last two days and June and I are going back today. It is overwhelming. We both left in tears last night. I could not talk for several minutes. I wish I could take every person in Danville who smokes into that room. You would not believe your eyes.

If may not have happened to you yet but there maybe a Tsunami coming your way, a tidal wave of overwhelming circumstances.

I have two stories that go with Psalm 46…One happened  about 2o years ago I suppose.  We had a dear lady in a nursing home in Huntsville [Emma Lindsey] and she was in the lock down for those who have dementia. You have to have a code to get in or out. I go in and she is in a group room with about 20 others and all 20 are making noise. Some are crying for their mothers, others or moaning, some are hollowing. It was total chaos. I could not think. A black care giver came to me and said, “You are a preacher, aren’t you?” I confessed and then she said start preaching. I said, “Are you crazy, I can’t preach in this chaos plus I don’t have a bible.” She walked off but returned in less than a minute and stuck a Gideon bible in my hand and said, “There is your bible, preach!” I said, “Ma’am, I have to prepare, I have to have a message and besides, who could hear over this din of noise?” She said, “Are you a preacher or not.” My mind was a blank but I opened the bible to Psalm 46 and started reading the Psalm as loud as I could without screaming. Suddenly, like magic, the room became quiet. I was absolutely blown away. Totally amazed at the power of God’s word. It was a short sermon on the immutability of God and how He does not change although every thing else around us is changing. I was overwhelmed that day but God taught me a powerful lesson: He is greater than the chaos around us.

Verse 4 reads, THERE IS A RIVER. I always capitalize the R in river because the River is Jesus. The RIVER is the source of life. Salt is poison to the body: salt will kill a tree, a big tree. Man cannot live on salt water: he has to have fresh water. The ocean and its waves represent the threats to life; the river is a symbol of the source of life. God in Christ is with us and He will not fail.

I love verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Then notice the next phrase, “I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

June and I were on a vacation a few years ago. All our kids were grown and gone and we made one of our rare trips together. We forgot our daily bread but we had a bible. I decided we would do the devotion in the car, prior to pulling out of the motel parking lot on to the busy interstate. I decided to use this Psalm again, hoping for a similar effect that I had seen in the nursing home. I read the Psalm, made some comments and then just before cranking the engine, I paraphrased verse 10…I said in the JEV that would read, “Relax and experience God.” June who had not said one word up to this point said, “Who could relax with you under the wheel?” Leave it to Big Mama, she knows how to keep me humble.

I really like the way the Psalm ends….the double affirmation…”I will be exalted.”

We may experience some deep disappointment and crushing experiences along the way but in the end, every knee will bow to Christ. We can rest assured the story has a happy ending. Have you ever flipped over and read the last chapter just to see if it is going to have a good ending? I hate these movies that have bad endings.

INSIGHTS

  1. Words have enormous power…our words have power but God’s word has incredible power.
  2. We can’t have peace with God when we are living in rebellion. We have to surrender our will to His in order to experience His peace which we desperately need.
  3. You are going to face some kind of turmoil or adversity almost every day. It may not be a pleasant reality but it is a reality. To prepare yourself spiritually, you need to spend a significant time alone with Christ. Reading Psalm 46 is helpful. Committing it to memory would be even better.
  4. Join the battle for peace. Instead of piling on [hitting a man when he is down] why not lift someone up. Do you have any friends who are down at this time. What could you do to lift them up? When you figure it out, do it! Is there something your LCBS class could do to help a hurting person? Do it!

 

 

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