October 8, 2000 -- AM
PROMISE IN HIS PRESENCE
(1) God does not leave us comfortless, but we have to be in dire need of comfort to know the truth of his promise. It is in time of calamity . . . in days and nights of sorrow and trouble that the presence, the sufficiency, and the sympathy of God grow very sure and very wonderful. Then we find out that the grace of God is sufficient for all our needs, for every problem, and for every difficulty, for every broken heart, and for every human sorrow. Peter Marshall (1902-1949)
(2) I have often, myself, sat in darkness, and cried aloud for the Holy Spirit to deliver me from the fantasies that gather round a parched soul like flies round a rotting carcass in the desert. Likewise, I have sat tongue-tied, crying out to be given utterance, and delivered from the apprehensions that afflict the earth-bound. And never, ultimately, in vain. Jesus’ promise is valid; the Comforter needs only to be summoned. The need is the call, the call is the presence, and the presence is the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990)
Three Lessons for today¡¦s way of thinking
I. It is a waste of worship to make a business into a religion (Habakkuk 2:18).
A. The Chaldean idols were created partially for their commercial profit.
B. The business was ¡§religiously¡¨ trusted for false security.
II. Manufactured objects can never meet spiritual needs (Habakkuk 2:19).
A. The Chaldean idols were expected to provide direction for the living.
B. The idols lacked a basic spiritual ingredient: LIFE.
III. The true source of human help can always be met at His designated place of authority (Habakkuk 2:20).
A. The LORD provides contrast (But).
B. The LORD demonstrates control (In His holy temple).
C. The LORD allows no compromise (Let all).
The presence of God is a fact of life. St. Paul rightly said of God, "In him we live, and move, and have our being." Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you." We may, by defying the purpose of God, insulate ourselves from that presence. We may, by unrepented sin, cut off the sense of God because we are clouded by a sense of guilt. We may, through no fault of our own, be unable to sense the God who is all about us. But the fact remains that he is with us all the time.
J. B. Phillips (1906-1982)
PROPOSITION: GOD¡¦S GLORY DEMANDS THE RESPONSE OF GLORY.
Here are Four elements of fruitful glory found in reasoning through John 15:8.
I. THE OBJECT OF GLORY: Herein is my Father glorified
A. Our aim is to glorify the Father.
B. We should ascribe glory to God alone.
C. It is when believers are fruitful in full cooperation with the Son that the Father is glorified.
II. THE PROCESS OF GLORY: that ye bear
A. Glory does not happen unless we are involved personally.
B. Here is the key to fruitlessness:
1. Glorious Positioning produces fruit.
2. Glorious Cleaning produces fruit.
3. Glorious Abiding produces fruit.
C. The key is abiding rather than knowing what the fruit is.
III. THE PROOF OF GLORY: much fruit
A. A large quantity of Christian fruit declares our glory of the Father.
B. This makes it important to remain at the process of producing the fruit.
C. The Lord wants His fruit ¡V spiritual, abiding fruit.
IV. THE UNDERSTANDING OF GLORY: so shall ye be my disciples.
A. The standard, acceptable practice of Christian discipleship is glorifying the Father.
B. If we will follow Christ, we will glorify the Father.
C. When the Father is glorified we will be glad to have had a part.
Habakkuk 2: 18-20
Verse 20 -- BUT... the Lord is in his holy Temple. [Woe to idolatry.] What profit is the image? (18) There is no breath. (19) But the Lord is in his Temple (20). [I am his Temple!]
The Lord’s presence produces stability.
Idols cannot help the heart. However, God is in his holy Temple. Unlike the idol neither God nor His Temple can be destroyed. Unlike the idol, He has an answer for the complexities and perplexities of life. He hears complaints and cries of people. He strikes down the oppressor.
Verse 20 -- nothing more needs to be said. Romans 12: 19 -- vengeance is His.
Verse 18 -- What profit is the image? Its maker carves it. It is a molded image. It is a teacher of lies. Its mold’s maker trusts in it. It is mute. Profit is the value brought to someone by use of an item. An idol in that day could be used to accumulate wealth. It brought income to carvers, molders, and practitioners. Yet an image was not real. It approximated something to believe in and hence serve. It was carved and overlaid with silver perhaps. It was used to teach lies.
The mold-maker had reason to want the image to be successful. What images did Chaldeans worship? Is this a specific image? Relying on that image for security (that is from the commerce generated by it) was the same as trusting it. This was worship in the "religious" sense. The idols were mute. They had nothing to say and no ability to say anything.
Verse 19 -- Idols came from wood and stone. Wood is not alert and cannot be awakened while stone is not alive that it can teach. To treat stone and wood as if either can communicate and interact with humankind, is to promote a woeful condition.
What things of today are inanimate images of wood and stone that people consult? Catholic statues -- stars -- Book of Mormon -- good luck charms -- houses -- ouija boards -- 900 numbers -- etc..
And idol is overlay with gold and silver, both valuable metals, yet these do not make the title more powerful. The idle has no breath. It is not alive! There’s not the slightest hint of living quality in the image. When it sits right before you, it cannot help in real crisis. The limit of its power is felt most when the need is greatest. One can be with an idol and be all alone.
Yet! God is in his holy Temple. The Lord our creator, Redeemer, and the self-existent, everlasting, un-caused cause is presently residing in His special dwelling place, His Temple. The special presence of God is in the position of power on the throne that controls the universe. God is good and awesome. Who else can occupy that Temple? No one else dwells there. Today that Temple is His church and the individual believer.
No one makes Him. He is not a conceived and developed concept. He is not controllable or tangible. He cannot be ignored. With Him one is not alone -- ever! No one carves or manipulates Him. He teaches no lies. He is worthy of trust. He is not mute. God still speaks (though not in ways managed by us). He never sleeps nor slumbers. Therefore He needs no awakening. We do not have to pretend He is real. He has no lie in what He communicates. He is as He is presented by Himself.
All the earth needs to give Him the silence of reverential awe. The silence is to the before Him. One is never alone in His presence. He will never leave or forsake us. His communication is essential for life. He must be heard and His word must be delivered by his people (see 2: 2).
How does the presence of God affect what we do and say? How do we behave when we sense His presence? How is His presence in the bodily Temple indicated at Family Baptist Fellowship? If he is here, how should we live? Where it is our silence before God? What message of His do we listen to while in His presence? What does He wants us to learn and deliver?
God has breath. He breathes the breath of everlasting life on his children. Did Jesus breathe the Holy Spirit onto people anywhere?
Habakkuk 2: 18-20
I. The Process of a Product without Profit (18)
A. The product is an image for commerce.
B. The process is made by man, molded, carved, overlaid
C. There is no profit because the idol is mute and questionable.
II. The Belief in a Boss WIthout Breath (19)
A. The boss is made, called, expected.
B. The belief is that wood can be awakened.
C. No breath means the boss is inanimate.
III. The Contrast of a Control without Compromise (20)
A. The word "but" indicates contrast.
B. Control is indicated by "in His holy Temple."
C. No compromise is seen in the words "Let every...."
The wicked a one-day parish, but the righteous will live, for the Lord is in his holy Temple.
And idle has no will of its own. It reflects the desires of its maker in the way it issues. It can get no comfort, neither can get Grant forgive this or command authority. Yet and idol can insulate. It can insult the God who created man in His own image because it becomes the tool of a competing will. The competition desires control and Connors.
The entire idea of elevated an artifact to such prominence is to live live by a lie.
It has no breath with which to form words of helpful. There is no blind on the matter. In contrast, there is a place to find the Lord. The Lord is in his holy Temple.
"We" are the Temple of God today. We can function as the dwelling of God, his base of powerful operation in the earth. From this Temple, not give counsel, correction, teaching, guidance and direction. There are four activities with please God. We are told to please God rather than man, open their even man behind idol). C. Galatians 1: 10 and first Thessalonians 4: 1.
1. Seeking him (Hebrews 11: 6)
2. Praising him (Psalm 69:30-31)
3. Obeying parents (Colossians 3: 20)
4. In during hardness (2d Timothy 2: 3-4).
Seeking God (Matthew 6: 33) and His righteous kingdom will reward the believer with peace. Therefore diligently seek the Lord
What will it profit a man if he gains his cause, and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made! -- John Newton, from The Letters of John Newton. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 11.
While carrying tracts to Union troops, one preacher was seized by Confederates as a spy.
John Vassar distributed tracts for the American Tract Society among Union troops. As his biography relates, "Uncle John was fifty years old or more, but he kept up with the best. Not only kept up, but often would shoulder for a mile or two the gun or knapsack of some poor fellow ready to give out. After the fight [at Gettysburg] was over, he became separated in some way from our troops, and was captured by Stuart’s cavalry.
"When brought into the presence of the general and questioned as a suspected spy, he instantly dissipated the suspicions of the officers by his frank and fearless words for the Master. ’I am working as a colporteur of the American Tract Society, to try and save the souls of the dear boys that fall around me daily. General, do you love Jesus?’
"The General fenced the question with, ’I know that good old Society, and have no fear of its emissaries.’
"’But, my dear general, do you love Jesus?’
"The puzzled officer was relieved by the suggestion of those who had arrested Uncle John, and who were already restive under his close questionings. ’General,’ said they, ’take the man’s promise that he will not tell of our whereabouts for twenty-four hours, and let us see him out of our lines, or we will have a prayer-meeting from here to Richmond.’
"And so it was decided. He made his way back into the Union lines, and was once more among friends."
ƒÞ Perry Brown, American Tract Society, "The Untold Story of Christianity & The Civil War," Christian History, no. 33.
SPECIAL THOUGHTS: THE FRONT PORCH Written by Sharon Unger (Wit & Wisdom reader), April 21, 1998, All rights reserved
When our children were young, we took a trip across the country so they could see much of the history of the United States and also so we could spend some time with my husband’s sister. One Sunday while we were at his sister’s house, I was feeling particularly out of sorts. I felt most unwelcome there, not just by her, but also by my children and my husband. This I later found out was not the fault of anyone there, but was more spiritual. I went out on the Front Porch of my sister in law’s house and was just sitting there, thinking out loud. I wasn’t praying, mind you, I was thinking out loud. I felt so all alone, so unhappy, so unwanted. I was miserable and was having a pity party for myself, basically. "Why do I feel so alone?" I asked. "What is wrong with me?" "What do I need to do to make things right?" Suddenly I heard church bells in the distance. They were playing an old familiar Christian song. It was as though God Himself were speaking to me, answering my non-prayer thoughts. "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling all sinners to come home." With tears streaming down my face, I suddenly realized that today was Sunday. I realized how far I had put God in the back seat. Right then and there, I prayed, "Father, forgive me. I have allowed everyone and everything to become more important to me than You. I have put you in a closet and shut the door. I am so sorry. I can see now what the problem is. Lord, I promise that as soon as we get back home, we will all go to church every Sunday. I promise we will put You first in our lives, where You should be. I promise I will not ever again shut you in a closet." I felt such a rush of warmth and joy. I honestly felt the arms of our God reach down from heaven and embrace me. Now, instead of tears, there was a smile. Instead of feeling alone I felt His presence. Instead of feeling unwanted I felt His peace and His love. I knew I was loved. I knew I was needed. I knew I was wanted. God spoke so clearly to me that day, and has so many times since then. I am so very happy that He called this sinner back home. To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen
Jeremiah 31:3 "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness."
There come days in the life of every one of us when the love of God seems merely an abstract term - His love seems irrelevant to our daily living.
But that is not the way our Lord wants us to regard the promise and the offer of His love. He is eager that we not only acknowledge His love, but that we remain in daily awareness of it. Again and again He reminds us: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness." Again and again He tells us that His relationship to those who put their trust in Christ as Savior is that of a father to his children - an ongoing, day-to-day relationship.
The love revealed in the Gospel is more than a kindly gesture; it is the hug of God, His reassuring arms around us. In days of darkness or distress, in nights of pain and sorrow, may we hear His loving voice: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine" (Isaiah 43:1). Yes, He is our God. He loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. May we always feel His loving presence near us! -Taken from "Words of Promise" copyright 1996 Concordia Publishing House. (Shared by Sharon Unger)
Dear Ann Landers:
The letter from the woman married to the tightwad -- she couldn’t get an extra quarter out of him -- reminded me of my wonderful aunt who was beautifully warmhearted and had a great sense of humor.
Aunt "Emma" was married to a tightwad who was also a little strange. He made a good salary, but they lived frugally because he insisted on putting 20 percent of his paycheck under the mattress. (The man didn’t trust banks.) The money, he said, was going to come in handy in their old age.
When "Uncle Ollie" was 60, he was stricken with cancer. Toward the end, he made Aunt Em promise, in the presence of his brothers, that she would put the money he had stashed away in his coffin so he could buy his way into heaven if he had to.
They all knew he was a little odd, but this was clearly a crazy request. Aunt Em did promise, however, and assured Uncle Ollie’s brothers that she was a woman of her word and would do as he asked.
The following morning she took the money (about $26,000) to the bank and deposited it. She then wrote a check and put it in the casket four days later.
This is a true story and our family has laughed about it ever since.
ƒÞ Dear Ann Landers