Sermons

Summary: In times of "doom and gloom", when bad news seems to be the order of the day, we must remember that "with God all things are possible" but not all things are permissible. Do our best and leave to God the rest.

FIRST AND FOREMOST: A CONSULTATION WITH THE LORD GOD

After my sister had been admitted to rehab following her hospital stay, we were asked to attend a family conference with caregivers to discuss goals . . . but first we consulted with her primary care physician in order to know how best to proceed.

At one point it seemed like we were up against impossible odds due to so many complications. Yet, we all felt that we must give it a try . . . do our best . . . leave to God the rest.

Yes, “with God all things are possible”, BUT not all things are permissible - for a simple reason: God’s ways (thots) are higher than our ways – demonstrated time and time again throughout secular history as well as biblical history.

All the more reason why, in matters of grave concern, there must be, first and foremost, a consultation with the LORD God.

Anyone who is frustrated, or brokenhearted, about the way things are vs how we think things could be, is in need of a consultation with God. The stronger your conviction that God must be consulted, the greater your sense of urgency to seek His Will in the matter, and your willingness to follow His guidance and accept the outcome – whatever it may be or wherever it may lead.

Whether or not and to what extent you come away from your consultation as content as Jesus was to pray “thy will be done” depends in large measure on your view of God, as expressed in a book entitled, “How BIG Is Your God?”

If you cling to the view “God can do anything but fail” then you will come away convinced of your contentment, as was Paul: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”.

Contentment comes via a learning process that more often than not has been triggered by a heart-breaking loss . . . of a loved one . . . of a relationship that had been rooted and grounded in true love!

Such was the experience of a Jewish man named Nehemiah who was so moved by bad news that he wept – Nehemiah 1:1-4 . . .

Nehemiah’s concern over the condition of Jerusalem consumed him. It broke his heart. Thoughts of what was, as opposed to what might have been or could be brought tears to his eyes. So what did he do? Steal away in the night? Run from reality? No. He chose to consult with the LORD God – Nehemiah 1:5-11 . . .

Notice that Nehemiah understood who he was kneeling before – in whose presence he was bowing - the great God of Heaven! He was consulting with the LORD God – with reverence for who God was . . . is . . . forevermore shall be.

As grateful as I am that I can talk to Jesus as a friend and to God as a Father, never should I do so without remembering Who He Is! Someone said, “The reason many of us have too high of an opinion of ourselves is that we have too low of an opinion of God!”

Don’t you think it’s a good idea to keep in mind the meaning of what Jesus taught us to say when we pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name!” When it occurs to us who God is and, in light of that revelation, consider who we are, how ought it to make us feel? In need of forgiveness . . . direction . . . salvation? Yes, of course!

Nehemiah came before the throne of God in humility with a contrite spirit! Nothing haughty or arrogant about this man! So must we come before God with a contrite spirit - IF we expect God to respond as we have often asked Him to do in that little prayer response we have sung through the years: “Incline Thine ear to us and grant us Thy peace”?

Not only does our awareness . . . prompt us to pray with contrition, but, as did Nehemiah, with genuine concern . . . for His fellow Israelites this penitent prayer warrior poured out his heart before God and unloaded the heavy burden he was carrying as if it all depended on him, but fully aware that it all depended on God.

Even so, knowing Who God Is, recognizing God’s providential intervention in the past, Nehemiah was willing to go without eating . . . without sleeping . . . with little or no energy . . . do whatever it took to be a part of the rebuilding of a once great nation. He wept! Jesus wept! Tears are indeed a language God understands!

Do I understand, though, that not only my tears but my words of confession are the words God hears before other words take on any meaning whatsoever?

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