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Summary: Using Habakkuk 1 and 3 and Psalm 42 as texts, the sermon demonstrates that true faith persists in spite of unnumbered problems and apparently unanswered prayers.

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THE PERSISTENCY OF TRUE FAITH, JOY AND PRAISE

REVISED 05-02-2006

This morning I want to talk about the persistency and growth of true faith, joy and praise. My sermon has two points:

First, true faith, joy and praise persist and grow even when trials and troubles seem unnumbered.

Secondly, true faith, joy and praise persist and grow even when prayers seem unanswered.

First, I want to illustrate this from two passages of Scripture.

Then I want to give two illustrations: one of trials and troubles, and one of unanswered prayer.

First, the Scriptures: all of Psalm 42 and two passages from Habakkuk.

(Psa 42:1 NIV) For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah. As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

(Psa 42:2 NIV) My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and

meet with God?

(Psa 42:3 NIV) My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

(Psa 42:4 NIV) These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

(Psa 42:5 NIV) Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and

(Psa 42:6 NIV) my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon--from Mount Mizar.

(Psa 42:7 NIV) Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your

waves and breakers have swept over me.

(Psa 42:8 NIV) By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-a prayer to the God of my life.

(Psa 42:9 NIV) I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"

(Psa 42:10 NIV) My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

(Psa 42:11 NIV) Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

(Hab 1:1 NIV) The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received.

(Hab 1:2 NIV) How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?

(Hab 1:3 NIV) Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.

(Hab 1:4 NIV) Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The

wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

(Hab 3:17 NIV) Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

(Hab 3:18 NIV) yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my

Savior.

(Hab 3:19 NIV) The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

I want to illustrate how troubles and trials seem unnumbered by reading a children’s book called Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE,

HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

BY JUDITH VIORST, ILLUSTRATED BY RAY CRUZ

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At breakfast Anthony found a Corvette Sting Ray car kit in his breakfast cereal box and Nick found a Junior Undercover Agent code ring in his breakfast cereal box but in my breakfast cereal box all I found was breakfast cereal.

I think I’ll move to Australia.

In the car pool Mrs. Gibson let Becky have a seat by the window. Audrey and Elliott got seats by the window too. I said I was being scrunched. I said I was being smushed. I said, if I don’t get a seat by the window I am going to be carsick. No one even answered.

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

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