Encourage0gram September 11, 2018
Dear friends loved by God,
Today is a very sad anniversary of the 911 attack in New York City. As we reflect on this tragedy I ask you to study with me from Psalm 119.
NIV Psalm 119:153-16
153 Look on my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, LORD, is great; preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, LORD, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
Immediately, we see a familiar subject emerge: Suffering! It makes sense that a request for perseveration is necessary when we are suffering! God uses these circumstances to refine our faith in Him. See Romans 5:1-5 and James 1:3-12.
In verse 154, the request for perseveration is combined with the twin requests for vindication and redemption! When we suffer unjustly, we call on God to defend us! We are blessed to believe that He is able to redeem us out of our suffering! When God redeems us, He sets us free.
In verse 156, we see a new word “compassion.” This compassion is a facet of His great love which demonstrates God’s care for us. He is moved to act on our behalf by his compassion. His compassion often translated mercy is rooted in our relationship to Him as our Father. As his child, He willingly intervenes for our good. We may not see his goodness in our suffering, but it is always the controlling factor! He is good and He is kind to us as his children when we suffer.
In verse 159, we see the final “Preserve my life” request in the psalm. The preface to the request is the author’s commitment to love the precepts of God. Precepts are the appointed tasks which God commands. We are blessed in loving and obeying the precepts of our Sovereign Lord. It is in His love for us that He sets precepts before us. There is a strong sense of God’s authority in this word. Once again, we see here that the request for preservation is linked with God’s love!
There is so much more truth to be mined out of the quarry. Please take a moment to pray and meditate on these verses.
Until we meet again, keep reciting this request to the Lord. Preserve my life! Ask the Lord earnestly for growth in every dimension of your life! He created you and knows you better than you know yourself. Call out to Him and watch Him work!
NIV Jeremiah 33:3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'
This Sunday, September 16, we will have Dr. Greg Fell, our Rocky Mountain District Superintendent, with us. He will share a message on the resurrection during our worship services. At noon, Greg and I, will host a forum on the proposed doctrinal change. To get additional information, you can also visit the EFCA website at www.efca.org under resources “Theological Definitions and Positions.” We will also have some printed materials available at the meeting.
I eagerly look forward to worshipping with you this week at FCC.
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,