Please clear our fog of fading

HELPS EXPECTATION PS. 71:1-4

WHAT WE LACK V.1-4

WE LACK CONFIDENCE V.1

DIRECT US IN TRUST

In You, O Lord,

do we put our trust:

O Lord, we run into Your arms;

It may appear that we’re into

the last lap in our race

when in our senior season.

We feel on the skids

of staggering strides

as we wobble and wither.

The only real calming hope

is to feel God’s hands

on our helm.

Sure there’s a tendency

to droop as troubles and

the grind of grief appear

to be chasing us to the grave.

So we run into the arms of Jesus.

We need His supportive help

when stuff is going haywire.

Jesus Christ is our Savior

and our encouragement

beyond words.

DELIVER US FROM TURMOIL

let us never be put to confusion.

don’t let us be discouraged.

Save us and rescue us

we’re in this low place,

Confidence builders are so few

and far between,

but You Lord want trust

no matter what the disorder

no matter what the uncertainty

of our situations.

No matter how hot it gets

We let You control

our steering wheel.

“Glorify our Lord in the fires”

Isa. 24:15

WE LACK CHOICE V.2-3

FREEDOM TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT

Deliver us in Your righteousness,

(for you do what is right.)

“We can rests everything

on Your character O God

and on Your compassion Father

Phillips writes

“You O God

are totally incapable

of letting us down.

We invest our faith

We commit our trust

in our living God

and we will find that,

when all else fails,

God is still in business,

still mighty to save”

FLIGHT FROM RUIN

HIS PATH OF ESCAPE

and cause us to escape:

HIS PERCEPTIVE EAR

incline Your ear to us,

(Put your ear close to our heart)

please hear every beat

HIS PLANNED EXIT

and save us.

You hear the murmurs

We can’t put into words

David Livingstone was away

up in the swamplands

around Chitambo’s village,

He was alone

except for a few local natives.

He had come to the end

of his tether.

His feet were a mass of ulcers,

His tough physique was sapped

to the point of utter exhaustion.

He was bleeding inside.

The last distinct entry

in his diary reads tersely:

“Knocked down quite!”

A drizzly rain was falling

They built a rough shelter

into which he could creep.

He was worn-out

An old missionary.

They fell asleep.

As dawn appeared

at last over the eastern horizon.

One of the men peered

into the lean-to hut.

He saw David Livingston,

the valiant old warrior

of the cross

not in bed but on his knees

against the bed.

Calling the other two,

the three of them crept

into the shelter.

Livingstone was dead—

He was alone,

with the Africans he loved.

Had God let him down?

No!

Into that lonely hut He had come,

He who had promised

never to leave nor forsake.

Beside that camp cot

He had kneeled,

beside the wasted form

of His missionary friend.

Around that wasted form

had gone those mighty,

everlasting arms.

God had whispered to his ears;

“Now then, David,

you’re coming home with Me.”

The character and compassion

of God had been tried

to the uttermost

and found to be true—

true to the very last moment

of time,

to the very last breath of life!

FORTRESS FROM FAILURE V.3

A WEAK PERSON

IN A STRONG PLACE

Be my strong habitation,

Be my mountain fortress

A WILLING POSITION

IN A STABLE PALACE

Whereunto we

may continually resort:

Our crag of safety

A WISE PRINCIPLE

AS A STRATEGIC PORTAL

You have given commandment

to save us;

Command our deliverance

A WELCOME PROTECTION

IN A SOLID POSITION

for You are our rock

and our fortress.

for You are our Mighty Rescuer

WE LACK CONSCIOUSNESS V.4

DELIVERANCE

Deliver us, O our God,

O God, save us from

this recurring depression

OUT OF DECEPTION

out of the hand of the wicked,

We are so tired of being

in the line of fire

OUT OF DEVIANCE

out of the hand of the unrighteous

and cruel individual .

Please shoulder our problems

We want to help others

as if our problems aren’t enough!

When we’re older

and our health is fragile

we desperately want

to feel secure.

Our natural defenses

against life’s injuries are gone.

We easily fall.

We can’t pull our weight

like we did in past employment.

We’re far from in demand

in the work place.

We even go unnoticed

at our local Church

and Bible study groups.

No one is calling

No one is checking in on us.

Our health is failing;

Our old friends are dying;

our minds and their minds

are not as sharp as they were;

our income is greatly reduced;

often we feel defenseless

and vulnerable.

We need God.

How great to read

“He has given commandment

to save us!”

God is our strong place,

God is our stable palace,

God is our strategic portal

God is our only solid position.

When we waver

in our consciousness.

We need God’s deliverance

from deception and deviance

Please clear our fog of fading

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Are We Stupid enough to pray?

If Prayer isn’t practical,

is it stupid to pray?

Really, talking

to an invisible being

appears a little absurd!

Oswald Sanders wrote

“until we do see that prayer

is stupid,

stupid from the ordinary, natural,

common sense point of view,

we will never pray.”

But do we believe

in what Jesus says He will do.

It sounds stupid,

but it is a stupidity based

on His redemption.

Praying is based

on our constant need of a Savior!

So what moment in the day is it

When we don’t need to be saved?

So what moment in the day is it

When we don’t need a Savior?

Jesus says: without faith

it’s impossible to please Me.

Why would we want

to purposely displease Jesus?

Isn’t He the source of everything?

And, isn’t prayer

the expression of our faith in Him?

Do we believe that He’s

the rewarder

of all who diligently seek Him?

To diligently seek means

we’re constantly gathering

information about God.

We get our information

from His voice.

And He speaks in His Word.

Really a disinterest in Jesus,

where we’re detached

from His expressions,

apathetic to speaking to Him

and indifferent and bored

by His Word

is an indication of no faith.

Aren’t we stupid enough

to believe what Jesus says.

We have to be a child!

When Jesus

Abruptly broke into prayer

He said:

Thank you, Father,

Lord of heaven and earth.

You’ve concealed Your ways

from sophisticates

You’ve hidden Your ways

from know-it-alls,

but You’ve spelled them out

clearly to babies

(the untaught and the simple)

Yes, Father,

that’s the way you like to work.

It’s the stupid

who are looked down on

It’s us stupid one’s

who believe in prayer.

Faith proves

we have more confidence

in His eyesight over our eyesight

There’s a simplicity about God

in working out His plans,

yet a resourcefulness

equal to any difficulty,

“There’s unswerving faithfulness

to be His trusting child,

There’s unforgetting steadiness

in holding to His purpose.

It’s safe to trust God’s methods

and to live by His clock.”

S. D. Gordon.

“God has a thousand keys

to open a thousand doors

for the deliverance of His own,

even when it‘s impossible

even when it‘s a desperate case”

George MacDonald.

We do our part by trusting prayer

Difficulty is the very atmosphere

of all miracles —

A problem is a miracle

in its first stages.

If it is to be a great miracle,

the condition is not difficulty

but impossibility.

Selected

The clinging hand of His child

makes a desperate situation

a delight to God our Father.

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Keep Praying

“When Moses stood

with arms spread wide,

Success was found

on Israel’s side.

But when through weariness

he faltered and failed,

That moment Amalek prevailed”

Cowper

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Finished our study in First Samuel this morning

Saul and his sons are slaughtered

and their bodies are desecrated

The Philistines defamed Saul and

Jonathan. They took their bodies

and violated them by debasing

them and hanging their bodies

out to rot in public dishonor.

It was a savage outrage.

The people of Jabesh Gilead

heard what the Philistines had

done to Saul.

And Their valiant men sprang

into action.

They traveled all night,

They took the corpses of Saul

and his three sons from the wall

that the Philistines had strung

them up on at Beth Shan,

and carried them back to

Jabesh …

They then buried the bones

under the tamarisk tree in

Jabesh and fasted in

mourning for seven days.

The bodies of those we love

are precious to us.

We want their bodies honored

and respected and we carefully

and lovingly grieve over our own

Our Lord bowed down to us and

took a human body of humiliation

to Himself.

A body that was rejected.

A body that was scorned

A body that was tortured

And He bore our sins in His

own body on the cross.

His body is precious to us

and we want to deepen in

our discernment of all He

achieved in His body for our

Salvation.

He said this is my body which

is broken for You.

Do this in worshipful

remembrance of Me

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The power of the Word

God says: My Word is like fire

God says: My Word is a hammer

Jeremiah 23:29

God uses His Word to

burn away unclean thoughts

God uses His Word to purge

the desires in our hearts.

God uses His Word with strikes

of hammer-like hardness to

crush and crumble our

spiritual hardness

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Hope delivers from shame

Our hope with each visit with the Doctor.

Our hope with each new test and medical procedure is

that this will alleviate our chronic pain.

C. S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed:

“Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God.

The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him.

The conclusion I dread is not

“So there’s no God after all,”

but “So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.”

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,so shall your God rejoice over you.

Isaiah 62:5

We can trust Him with all our heart.

We have to not lean on our own understanding

We can in all our ways know Him in deeper comprehension

He promises to direct our path.

Prov 3:5-6

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THE FORMULA OF FAITH Psalms 42: 5-10

At times we think and write in a stiff and mechanical way.

We like detail and can get swallowed up and consumed with it.

God’s Word is intensely enchanting.

But, pulling out the particular expressions of God’s Word and analyzing

in formulaic patterns can appear boring

In the Word we are listening to God’s voice and that’s an amazing privilege.

There’s intense value in being swallowed up by its technicalities and structure.

So why not get tangled up in the oddities of outlines

and why not capture the feeling of its interaction in our soul.

In Psalm 42 we hear the panting after God’s voice in the poetry

The poet writes:

PSALMS 42 PRIVATE PASSIONS AND OUTER OBSTACLES

I have secret passion. I feel them pounding like a drum in my heart.

But there are obstacles.

Each day the barriers and impeding forces appear almost overwhelming.

I was pushing Jill up a hill.

The wind was whipping at us off the bay.

The autumn sun was bright, warm and blinding.

But the shock, was my body. It is not what it used to be.

Jill has had grizzly surgeries.

We both feel we’re constantly facing new challenges.

We’re trying to tie together a variety of loose ends in ourselves.

THE FOCUS OF OUR FEELINGS V.1-4

CONTENT ONLY WITH THE SUPERNATURAL V.1

DYNAMIC DESIRE

As the Deer pants after the water brooks

DEPENDABLE DELIVERER

so pants my soul after You, O God.

When things are not working as smoothly as we’d hoped we get immersed

in our feelings of needing to feel the Lord Jesus.

Not just for us, but for those we love.

We wonder over others but especially our loved ones.

We’re thinking how can we be supportive and best touch others for Jesus?

We are panting after God’s solutions. We’re weak and out of breath.

How can I support anyone when I can barely push my wife up this blustery

incline of life. I start thinking odd thoughts. Then I tumble into weird feelings.

CRAVING COMMUNION WITH THE CREATOR V.2

INNER OBSESSION

My soul thirsts for God,

IDENTITY OPTIMISM

for the living God:

INDELIBLE OPPORTUNITY

when will I come and appear before God?

We need God. But really we always do. But feeling weak makes us lean more.

He allows us to feel it by letting us touch our weakness.

Then we wonder. Are we praying the right things?

Should we have organized our schedule differently?

It’s so common to feel self defeated when you’re constantly bumping

into exhaustion.

REFUSE DESPONDENCY V.5

Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?

REFLECT DESIRE

hope thou in God:

REHEARSE DELIGHTS

for I shall yet praise him

RECALL DELIVERANCES

for the help of his countenance.

RECOGNIZE DESPAIR V.6

O my God, my soul is cast down within me

As ridiculous as it all appears.

We have lows in our physical and emotional state.

So how are we going to be of any help to anyone when we can’t get

past our own physical and emotional challenges .

Sometimes I feel like all I do is wonder around gasping in crazy puffing

and wheezing. We want to remember our past high moments.

REMEMBER DETAILS

THE HIGHS OF LIFE

therefore will I remember You from the land of

Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar

THE LOWS OF LIFE

Deep calls to deep at the noise of Your waterspouts

all Your waves and Your billows are gone over me.

The Jordan is strangely referred to as the river of death.

It flows lower and lower. It goes down and down and down.

Finally it empties into the Dead Sea which lays 1500 feet below the

Mediterranean Sea.

The poet is capturing this immense downward exasperation through

the gorges of the surrounding hills.

THE CONSTANTS OF LIFE

GOD’S TENDER TOUCH V.8

SPECIAL LOVE

Yet the LORD will command his loving kindness in the daytime,

STEADY LYRICS

and in the night His song shall be with me,

STRONG LONGING

and my prayer to the God of my life.

God is faithful. It’s not about our performance in prayer.

It’s not about our mighty faith or wry insights.

I’m a scrawny weakling that can’t climb the heights anymore.

I’m soft and weak. But God is my rock.

GOD’S RELIABLE RESOURCES V.9

I will say unto God my rock,

THE MISCALCULATIONS IN LIFE

WHEN WE FEEL DISCARDED

Why hast thou forgotten me?

WHEN WE FEEL DOMINATED

why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

WHEN WE FEEL DEGRADED

As with a sword in my bones,

Yes, I bump the bottom now and then.

Jill and I make an awkward visual with me panting,

and her gripping her wheelchair.

We may feel stabbing pain, but it’s a joyous plunge into loves firmness;

where we can feel God as our rock.

It’s not about my performance.

It’s not, did I pray enough, or pray the right things. I never do.

No, it is God.

He is our mighty rock.

He is faithful,

He is compassionate, and deep in His love.

When we go down deep, He goes down deeper, to lift us up to Himself.

He is always there, controlling the wind, and the waves.

The brisk storms of life are His hands drawing us closer.

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The frost is coming

As dying and behold we live

2 Cor. 6:9

When an Early frosts comes,

the radiant beauty of our flowers

are seared!

The frost is too much for them

and they perish

We dislike it,

it’s like a graveyard of flowers

But, in time

they come back up

in great abundance

every plant that winter destroys

comes back in multiplied growth.

What did those frosts do?

They kill them,

they smash them to the ground,

they stomp the fragile buds

with snowy feet.

The winter boasts

“This is the end of you.”

But in spring new witnesses

rise up and say

“By death we live.”

We learn from flowers

that by death comes new life

By crucifixion and the sepulchre

comes the throne and the palace

of our Eternal God.

By overthrow comes victory

To suffer is harsh

To get smashed is mean.

But it is by being cast down

and not destroyed;

it is by being shaken to pieces

and our pieces torn to shreds,

that we mature

and become mighty

Dont yield to the appearance

of things

God is working

There is blossoming,

there is momentary prosperity

and then what looks like the end,

but it isn’t the end.

Beecher.

“We Measure our life

not by loss and not by gain,

Not by what we take in,

but by what we pour out.

For love’s strength

stands in love’s sacrifice,

And he who suffers most

has most to give.”

Through death

comes resurrection life.

Through our dying to our selves

we open to Christ’s life within.

“My beloved spoke

and said to me,

Arise, my darling,

my beautiful one,

come with me.

See! The winter is past;

the rains are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth;

the season of singing has come,

the cooing of doves is heard

in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit;

the blossoming vines

spread their fragrance.

Our Lord says:

Arise, come, my darling;

my beautiful one,

come with me.”

Song of Solomon 2:10-13

Hear, O LORD

and be gracious to us;

O LORD, be our helper.”

You have turned for us

our mourning into dancing;

You have loosed our sackcloth

and girded us with joy,

Psalms 30:10-11

Those who have found their life

will lose it,

Those who have lost their life

for Jesus sake will find it.

“If a grain of wheat falls

on the ground

it will never be more than one grain

unless it dies.

But if it dies,

it will produce lots of wheat”

Matt. 10:39

For it’s in His death and life

that we find life

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Meditate on these things

Meditation engages the mind

with God’s revealed truth

in order to inflame the heart

with affections towards God

And transform the life to obedience.

Thomas Hooker defined it like this:

“Meditation is a serious intention

of the mind whereby we come

to search out the truth

and settle it effectually

on the heart.”

The direction of our minds

reveals the truest love

of our hearts and so,

Hooker said,

he who loves God’s Word

meditates on it regularly

Ps. 119:97

Meditation is not repeating

a sound, emptying the mind,

or imagining physical sights

and sensations,

but Meditation

is a focused exercise of

thought and faith on the Word

of God.

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Think Right

When Proverbs 4:23

tells us to guard our hearts,

it’s not saying,

“Lock them up because

they’re really criminal to the core”;

it’s saying

“Defend them like a castle,

View our heart

as the seat of our strength

We don’t want to give away our heart

We protect our heart

We preserve our heart

We police our heart

We fill our heart with God’s Word

Romans 10:17 says

“Faith comes by hearing,

hearing by the word of God.”

But we need to know something else:

Doubt comes by hearing also.

That’s why Jesus said,

“Be careful what you are hearing…”

Mark 4:24, The Amplified Bible

What we plant inside our heart

grows—always.

Doubt will grow and keep us bound.

Truth will grow and make us free.

So be careful what we’re hearing.

Listen to the Word of God.

As Proverbs 4:21 says,

“Let [God’s words] not depart

from your eyes;

keep them in the middle of your heart.”

God’s Spirit says,

listen well to My words;

tune your ears to My voice.

Keep My voice in plain view at all times.

Concentrate!

Learn it by heart!

Those who discover these words live,

really live

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