Here is another quote from pastor and theologian Charles Spurgeon:
“There is a time appointed for weakness and sickness, when we shall have to glorify God by suffering, and not by earnest activity…The path of trouble is the way home. Lord, make this thought a pillow for many a weary head!” (Charles Spurgeon)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
A couple of years ago, I used this verse for a Sunday Devotional. I was reminded of this verse again recently and how it is very much still applicable today.
Paul wrote these words finishing up a letter to a group of believers that he cared for very deeply. He helped to plant the church in Philippi wanted to see and hear that the believers there were growing in their faith. He wanted them to keep pursuing Christ and to continue the work there.
We as believers have that same calling. We are to keep pursing Christ and continue the work of sharing the Gospel. And as we do that, we are to engage life with the filter that this verse We live in a time when we are bombarded on all sides from things that are not the things in these verses. We must strive to separate out these things to find the things that are true, that are just, that are pure, that are worthy of praise.
This week, let us make sure that we take time to reflect on those things that honor God, those things that point us to Him. Let us think on those things so that we can be focused on what it is He has for us to do.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord proclaim that He has redeemed them from the hand of the foe and has gathered them from the lands— from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
Some wandered in the desolate wilderness, finding no way to a city where they could live. They were hungry and thirsty; their spirits failed within them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He rescued them from their distress. He led them by the right path to go to a city where they could live. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. For He has satisfied the thirsty and filled the hungry with good things.” (Psalm 107:1-9)
The first part of this psalm reminds me of a praise and worship song that I love. We are to give thanks to the Lord. Why? Because His love endures forever. He loves us so much and cares for us. He is faithful always.
The writer of this psalm speaks to God’s love and faithfulness throughout this psalm. Just in these few verses we see that to be true. The people were wandering and alone and cried out to the Lord. They were hungry and thirsty. They were tired and alone. The Lord heard them and led them out and brought them home. He took care of them.
The Lord does the same for those who love and follow Him He hears us when we call out to Him. He will lead us out of despair and into hope. So this week let’s us give thanks to the Lord for his faithful love that endures forever.
“Others went to sea in ships, conducting trade on the vast waters. They saw the Lord’s works, His wonderful works in the deep. He spoke and raised a tempest that stirred up the waves of the sea. Rising up to the sky, sinking down to the depths, their courage melting away in anguish, they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and all their skill was useless. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people and praise Him in the council of the elders.” (Psalm 107:23-32)
We all have storms we have to deal with in our lives. They come both literally and figuratively. We’ve seen in recent days and weeks dealing with storms such as Hurricane Harvey and Irma. We also see it in our lives figuratively when the troubles and hardships that come our way. Throughout it all, God is still there in the midst. He is still in control.
Like the Psalmist writes here in Psalm 107, God is right there to hear us when we call out to him in the midst of the storm. He knows what we’re going through. He is able to guide us “to the harbor”. Sometimes it’s hard in the midst of the storm to feel his presence but He is there. If we call out to Him, He will hear us.
This week, let us pray for those that are in the midst of storms both literally and figuratively. And let us give thanks to the Lord, for His faithfulness and His love. Let us give thanks that He does hear us and that He will calm the storm and will guide us to the harbor.
“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.Because people will hand you over to sanhedrins and flog you in their synagogues, beware of them.You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bear witness to them and to the nations.But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour,because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.
“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will even rise up against their parents and have them put to death.You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered.When they persecute you in one town, escape to another. For I assure you: You will not have covered the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:16-23)
Jesus spoke these words to the 12 disciples before sending them out on mission to preach the Gospel. He was letting them know about the dangers and risks that were in front of them. He was informing them of the harshness that they would face. He was telling them the truth about how hard the mission would be. It was not going to be easy but it would be worth it.
The same is true today. We will face hardships and persecution when preaching the truth of Jesus Christ. We will be hated. We will be despised. We will be rejected. Jesus Himself was despised and rejected. We as his followers should not expect less. But Jesus promised us we would never be alone. He has promised the Holy Spirit with us. And one day He will return.
In the meantime, we are called to share the truth in love. We are to keep sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the midst of hardship and persecution, in the midst of being hated and despised. We are to keep fighting the good fight for the sake of the Gospel.
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord had done great things for us; we were joyful.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like watercourses in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.”
The Israelites had several experiences where they were in bondage, away from their home. Each time they were in sorrow and each time God was faithful in delivering them. When they returned, they were joyful and were again reminded of God’s faithfulness to them. They had reason to shout “The Lord has done great things.”
We go through seasons where we weep, where we sow in tears. There are seasons where we struggle in depression and hurt. But God is faithful, there will come a time when we will “reap with shouts of joy”. God will deliver us through to the other side. And we will shout out “The Lord has done great things for us.” This week let us encourage one another with these words. Let us remember God’s faithfulness in those seasons when we sow in tears and be grateful when reaping with shouts of joy.
“Give thanks to Yahweh, call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works! Honor His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice. Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:1-4)
One of the great things about Psalms is the reminder of God’s goodness and His faithfulness. There are many psalms throughout the book that sing of these attributes. Not only that, they call us to remember them daily. These verses are a part of just such a psalm.
We have so much to be thankful for that God has given to us. We can rejoice and be glad. But we are not just to keep it to ourselves. We are to share them with everyone around us. We are to “proclaim His deeds among the people.” It should just burst forth because we have been blessed so much to share that with others.
The other key part in these verses is the psalmist says we should seek God’s face always. We should always be pursing being before God. So this week, let us be thankful, let us be sharing and let us be seeking. Let us be thankful for all that God has given us. Let us be sharing with others about what God has done. And let us be seeking the Lord every day.