Past Results...Future Returns
Past Returns … Future Results
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord..
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my plea for mercy!
If you, O Lord, marked iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his word I hope;
My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchman for the morning.
For with the Lord is steadfast love and with him is plentiful redemption. - Psalm 130
In seminary we were warned never to never flippantly turn to a passage of scripture as a guideline for a study or a lesson. Yet there are times where we do find God’s will in this very method, the construction of this newsletter is one such item!
This Psalm was incorporated in a sermon preached at Deer Creek on June 27th. The Psalm was in juxtaposition to the turmoil, confusion and uncertainty of transition from the death of King Saul to the reign of King David. Although Israel was in confusion, God’s promise of guidance, purpose, and the establishment of the Kingdom would take place. How do WE handle uncertainty? How do WE manage the confusion of the world and the unknown? The answer to these questions is probably this: we don’t handle uncertainty well!
Sorting through junk mail recently I came across a prospectus from an investment company that warned: “Be ready for the uncertainty of tomorrow!” But after reading on, I laughed to myself as the fine print said: “Of course past success is no guarantee of future return.” This was a ‘light bulb’ moment as I thought to myself; “I know the One who guarantees future success, if we invest in the heavenly kingdom based on the past promises and results - the cross!”
What are the things we spend time worrying about? Time and space prevent me from detailing every worry there is, but are we worrying over the wrong things? Is our investment made in the things of the kingdom, or the things of the world? Oswald Chambers, in his lectures to the YMCA in England reminded people of the things that we should be concerned about in his day, which is the same today as it was over 100 years ago. “We must recognize the difference between burdens that are right and that are wrong.” What did he mean? Read closely his response and let the words “sink in.” chambers’ reminded each Christian that “We should never bear the burdens of sin and doubt.” Yet if we’re honest, we each bear the burdens of sin and doubt. Despite prayer and petition most find that they do not magically disappear as we walk with God. Should they? How do we react to this sin and doubt? Some, despite great intentions, drop out. Others struggle while grumbling and become confused about “why has God allowed me to be burdened this way?” Those who trust in God during these trials learn to “rollback” those burdens, onto the shoulder of God. Only God through Christ can take away our burdens. Think of the promise God makes, which we usually only read in regards to the Annunciation of Christ in the Christmas story, from Isaiah 9: “And the government will be on his shoulders.” Does that apply to us today: to our burdens, fears, doubt and sin? The answer is “Yes!”
We have discussed in Sunday School, false notions of what God does for us through Christ in our examination of Romans 8. Contrary to popular perception, God doesn't just do the saving part and we must do the rest. God does it all through the working of his Spirit through us.
This “letting go” of burdens was so powerfully described in the book, Pilgrim’s Progress with the chief character, Christian, carrying a metaphorical burden on his back for a long journey, which over time crushed him down. Yet even after believing in Christ, we see that Christian remained burdened with his guilt, sin, and doubt. Why didn’t it “clear up” and disappear when he entered into a relationship with Christ? The answer ties into what Chambers was teaching, only after the character Christian “let go” did his burden drop off his back.
When burdens come, what do you do; how do you react? Do you complain, grumble and get mad because you assume that as a Christian you aren’t supposed to experience these situations? Chambers’ humorously noted in many cases these trials are put into our lives for us to produce wine through squeezing. Yet our wine often becomes whining!
Instead, seek to cast aside those burdens, let Christ take the yoke of burden from you! I suspect many are struggling with burdens and are weighed down today because they have never given their yoke to the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. We have so convinced ourselves as to the necessity of doing it ourselves, which is not the gospel!
I close with the power each of us possess as a Child of the King and a Servant of Jesus Christ. We have the Holy Spirit in us, which is the source of all power and purpose in the world. To be a weak or doubting Christian is not acceptable; you are called for greater purposes and greater meaning in your life. Apply the reality of who you are and why you are here on earth for God’s glory. Let the Spirit do the heavy lifting in your lives and give God the glory.
Yours in Christ,