Our text on for this online message comes from the book of Psalms, the 27th Psalm verses 1-5. It reads as follows:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat of my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp round against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me; he shall set me upon a rock.
I would like to focus on verse 1 where it reads: "The Lord is
my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of
my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" I would like to use a simple theme
for this online message and that theme is God is still in control. This theme
is nothing exceptionally profound, for we have heard this in the church for
many years, however it is a simple truth that we often miss. God is still
Many of you are wondering how in the year 2003, could you hear such a simple theme. For we are living in a day where we all want to hear something new, something fresh, and something exciting. It is not my desire to be impressive, but my desire is only to be effective in delivering this simple truth that God is still in control.
Saints of God, it is imperative in this last hour in which we now live in, that we donít lose focus of who is in control of our lives. Many of the events of the last couple of years will have repercussions that will carry over into this year and for many years to come. The devastating events of the year 2001 caught many of us by surprise; we were all blindsided by the events of September 11. That day has changed our whole way of living, and our lives along with it.
Just remember if you will, how easy it was to board a plane without a thought in years past, but on today one has to go into sackcloth and ashes just to go near an airport now. We were all finally living the American dream, we were wearing the finest, driving the finest, and we were living in the finest. Many of our greatest battles were looking into our closets and deciding which suit to wear.
Yet in the midst of the masses crying Peace, Peace then came sudden destruction, and saints of God, thatís how a crisis will even arise in your life, home, or family, it will arise with very little warning and when you are least prepared to encounter it.
The severity of the terroristís attacks was so great, yet I submit to you as I stated earlier that the repercussions from that attack are even greater. A general state of fear is permeating our land, and all of a sudden bad news is the order of the day. Fear has come into town by the truckload. For we are now living in a frenzy as we watch the nightly news, as we hear words like recession, layoffs, downsizing, warfare, and we hear that another attack is eminent any day.
Service Merchandise, Enron, and many other huge companies have already bit the bullet, while other large companies are barely holding on. We are now living in a day where everyone is nervous, mom is nervous, daddy is nervous, the children are nervous, and even the cat and dog are nervous.
I was reading recently in USA TODAY that 70 percent of Americans have endured at least one case of severe clinical depression since September 11th. Panic is at an all-time high not only in the streets, but now it seems that panic has even gripped some believers in Christ. We seem to be fretting at a record pace, even though the scriptures admonish us in the 37th Psalm to, "fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb, trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed."
I submit to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, that not only is our nation under attack, but many of us are under attack in our own lives. While many of us are seldom ever confronted by terrorists on a regular basis; however we are confronted almost daily with problems, troubles, afflictions, hurts, and pains. It seems that sometimes we are confronted by lifeís adversities on a daily basis. Morning, noon, and night we can be found pressing our way on a seemingly endless uphill journey. Troubles, problems, and afflictions will not stop once one enters the house of God; as a matter of fact the scriptures declare that those who live Godly shall suffer persecution.
In this Christian walk you will invariably find out that everyday is not Sunday. We live in a world that will often oppose you for no other reason than your stance and stand for Jesus Christ. You will be wounded and bruised in this Christian walk, but we only need to remember, that if we would only choose to suffer with him that we would also reign with him. The pain in a Christianís life is often compounded by the great paradox of life itself, which is when one can try to do everything right that he or she possibly can and still find oneself nailed to a cross of hard times and pain.
I submit to you in this Christian walk, you will go through, yet God is still in control. Many of us are made to feel like we are followed by dark clouds, and we are made to feel like we have a target painted on our backs because for every one step we seem to take forward, we seem to take two steps back. Yet my brother and my sister, God is still in control. The Bible is full from cover to cover with the problems, troubles, and afflictions, the people of God have had to suffer for righteousness sakes. Your Christian character is not tested while you are on the mountaintop, but it is tested when you are in the valleys of life, are you really a great Christian when your pockets are full and the kids are acting right and your health is great and when all of the utilities are on at the same time? One can not judge how anointed one may be by the response of the crowd. I submit to you that the only way that you know that you are anointed is by the number of javelins coming at your head.
However it is when one goes through the valleys of life that one can get a true revelation of just how great God really is. How can one know God as a healer if one is never sick, how would we know God as a deliverer if we never needed to be delivered, how could we call him a waymaker if we never had a way that needed to be made, how could we ever sing that heís an ďon time God yes he isíí, if he had never showed up on time. The Apostle Paul said in Romans the 8th Chapter and the 18th verse For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us. Sometimes child of God, to get to the best day of your life you have to go through the worst day of your life. Its all part of Godís divine plan, and within that plan is a process.
Your deliverance will sometimes be a process, we will not all be delivered overnight, look at the scriptures some in scripture suffered for 12 years, for 38years, and even for 40 years. We must stand our ground despite contrary winds. We must trust God in the fire, in the flood, we must trust God at nine in the morning, and at midnight. We must hold on when we have been pushed to our limits, when we have been to hell and back. We must hold on through sunshine and rain, through sickness and through pain. We are to hold on when everything in us tells us to let go; yet God is still in control. The psalmist David stated in this text the" Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid" In this text the psalmist is relying on his trust in an all-powerful God even when enemies and dark clouds surround him on every side. David doesnít spend his time worrying about his outcome; he spends his time focusing on his out from. God is bigger than anything you are going through is. God is bigger than Cancer, God is bigger than Aids, and God is bigger than divorce, eviction, or repossession.
Yet our problem is believing that a God whom we have not seen can clean up the messes we see each and every day. When we are bound by fear it means that we have not spent enough time with the word of God. If fear is the opposite of faith and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, then fear comes by not hearing and hearing the word of God. It is impossible to have the confidence that the psalmist had in this text without a firm revelation of the word of God. David said in this same Psalm that he would have fainted unless he had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Saints God wants us to see everyday brighter and sweeter than the day before; however we often succumb to self limiting fears, fears that keep one from moving from one level to the next. We have to overcome our fears because some fears will keep you in the first grade, none of us would have ever learned how to ride a bicycle or drive a car if we did not at first conquer fear.
There is a recession in the land and wallets and pocketbooks across our land are feeling the pinch. Ulcers, panic attacks, and nervous breakdowns are on the rise as many Americans ponder how can they keep their luxury cars when sales are down and the plant is cutting back. Many of our 401k statements are barely worth what we put in them; there are scores of people who are looking for another job on top of the two jobs they already have.
Yet even in the midst of this so-called recession God is still in control. The scriptures declare that the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just so recession must occur so restoration can occur. David once stated, "I once was young, but now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread."
My brother and my sisterís, fear must not loom larger than the power of the word of God. The word fear or its derivatives appear over 500 times in the whole of the scriptures, and the word fear in our text comes from the Hebrew word 'pachad' which means to be startled by something sudden and startling to the point of trembling. How many of us are trembling from the evening news, trembling about our bills, trembling about our next visit to the doctor, trembling when they hire someone new on the job. While everyone else is trembling, believers should know that God is still in control. We serve a God that sits high and looks low, a God that owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
Rev. Stephen F. Smith is pastor of Greater Destiny Church of God In
Christ in Memphis, Tennessee. He and his wife Deborah, reside in Memphis. Email
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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