Emergency ready. That’s important…because you never know what is just ahead.
A fatal car accident late at night…a diagnosis of an illness that is usually fatal…a pink slip that means no money for next month’s expenses.
Are you emergency ready?
Fair weather is building weather. When life is going along on an even keel – that’s the time to get ready.
And… if it’s not your emergency…it’s someone else’s. You must be ready for that as well.
The apostles faced great persecution. They were threatened…flogged…and imprisoned. But…they were emergency ready.
In a Philippian jail…Paul and Silas could sing praise to God. They were emergency ready.
So…what does this mean? Live a Spirit-filled…Spirit-led—and pure and well-ordered life.
Then you will be emergency ready.
Violence. What are its causes?
Genetics? Parenting? Education? It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.
But when you think Biblically…the answer is quickly apparent. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
So…it’s a heart problem — hearts bent on rebellion against God…hearts infected with the virus of sin…hearts filled with greed – hatred – and lust.
Then the other question – what is the cure?
All around are impassioned proposals – legislation…restraints…threats. But most have been tried – and failed.
The Bible has a clear to-the-point answer: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
This is both the cause and the cure for violence.
Inescapable faith. You have to believe in something.
Here are some options – nothing…chance…coincidence…first cause. Or…that humans are gods.
It’s clear – any of these options require an undeniable leap of faith.
Sadly…many have chosen one of these options – assuming that their choice best explains the demands of reasonability.
Faith in something that is inescapable – even if it is faith in nothing.
The psalmist makes this declaration – “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God,’”
So…since you will trust in something — even if it is nothing – why not consider the God of the Bible?
Wonderfully…once you choose God…you will then discover the illumination and understanding that comes from that relationship.
Faith is inescapable. Let it be in God.
Old and gray-haired – that happens to all of us.
It’s the testimony of the psalmist: “…when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God…”
But…what is his main concern? “…till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”
So…the priority is to be sure that the generation to follow becomes acquainted with the strength and power of God.
They need to know about God’s power to save…to heal…to fill with His Spirit.
They need to hear your story…all the ways in which God has worked in your life.
This is a God-given assignment.
Calamities. They too will pass.
This is the testimony of the psalmist. “…in the shadow of your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities pass.”
Calamities come in varied degrees. But…where do you find a place of rest until they pass? In the shadow of God’s wings – that’s the psalmist’s answer.
Shadows are interesting — they represent presence. If God’s shadow is with you — then you know that God is near.
And…God’s wings are mighty. Their spread is beyond the scope of your calamity. You are covered completely by God’s wings.
Calamities are hard to endure. They are threatening and alarming.
But…you can wait out the calamities of life by dwelling under the wings of Almighty God.
Secularization. This is the process by which God is squeezed out of the conscience of a society.
The evidences are clear — pressure to remove any reference to God from currency…the attitude of educators against God in some classrooms…even the dominance of convenience over devotion for churchgoers.
Jesus asked: “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Your part in this secularized world is to strengthen your resolve to serve the Lord with all your heart. Be a strong vote against every influence that diminishes faith.
The Bible also says: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
When Jesus comes…be numbered with those whom the Son finds faithful.
Thirsty. And…nothing works as well as a cold drink of water.
This is the metaphor used by the psalmist. “My soul thirsts for God…”
Deep in the human spirit is a thirst – an insatiable desire for something. And…that something is God alone.
Sadly…people ignore this reality. They often try everything but God. And…the thirst continues.
The list is endless. They try food…drugs…pleasure…fame…fortune…adventure…money…religion – but nothing satisfies.
This leads to despair.
Why? Because there is no other way to satisfy the thirst of the soul…than to come to the living God.
Your thirst will be satisfied by Him alone.
The fourth cross. That one is for you.
But wait. There are only three crosses – Jesus in the middle and a criminal on either side.
True. But Paul says: “I am crucified with Christ…” So the fourth cross is for Paul…and every other person who makes the decision to follow Jesus.
You must die – if you are going to follow Jesus. You must die to self…sin…and every earthly passion that separates you from the Savior.
Crucifixion is painful. And…when you say yes to Jesus – dying to your old life may also be painful.
It says of Jesus – “…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…”
If you want deep and lasting joy — come to Jesus by way of the cross.
Your Father – who is in heaven. Stop long enough to grasp that magnificent truth.
And…though in heaven…He is with you in the moment.
He is everywhere present…all-powerful…and all-knowing – closer than your next breath.
Don’t allow a distorted view of an earthly father cloud your understanding of the wonder of your heavenly Father.
He has a love for you that does not expire…a willingness to forgive any confessed sin…and is a shield and safe haven in all the storms of life.
Rightly…Jesus instructed the disciples to pray – “Our Father which art in heaven…” Then follows appropriate requests…confession…and expressions of worship.
A little child feels safe…when by the father’s side. And you need not fear…for your heavenly Father is by your side.
Ancient burial sites. They remind us of people who lived long ago.
The catacombs in Rome…the burial sites on the hills of Israel…or the mummies on display in Egypt — each speaks of people who lived thousands of years ago.
But…do they still matter?
The psalmist says: “I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.”
But…he also confesses: “My times are in your hand…”
In other words…death does not erase your significance to God. The souls of men are eternal.
In time there may be no one who will remember you – but God will never forget.
And in God’s time…you will dwell with Him in heaven – if your trust is in Jesus.