Fred R. Coulter—November 28, 2009

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Let's go to 1-John, the second chapter, because I think this is something. Dolores and I were commenting on how that Christmas is so anti-Christian, anti-Christ, it's unreal, and how do you get Christ into a situation where there's competition among the stores in merchandizing. Who's going to open the earliest? Some said they're going to open at six, other said five, others said four, one said midnight. People would go out and camp out and wait, stand in lines. Remember what happened last year when they opened the door? They all ran in and trampled the doorkeeper to death. Now where is Christ in all of that?

Looking at all the ads and everything that there is, I couldn't help but think of 1-John 2:15, because this epitomizes Christmas. Christmas has nothing to do with Christ. It has to do with buying and selling and merchandizing. A lot of people when they said, 'Tomorrow's black Friday.' You think: is that witchcraft? What is black Friday? Dolores asked me and said, 'What's black Friday?' I said, 'They call it black Friday because that's the first day of the year for businesses to really begin making a profit.' They make anywhere from ten to fifty percent of the entire year's profit from Christmas sales.

How many heard, 'Let's worship Christ.' Well, you hear this, 'Let's put Christ back in Christmas.' But Christ was never, never in Christmas, so how can you put Him back there? Yet people are in love with it. They've never sat down and said, 'I wonder how true this is with the Bible?' They just assume that it is, but it's not. It's all a part of the world. There's one town in China that the whole town is devoted to making Christmas toys and trinkets and wreaths and lights, and everything.

1-John 2:15: "Do not love the world, nor the things that are in the world…. [We'll see that's exactly what this is.] …If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because everything that is in the world—the lust of the flesh… [That's what Christmas is all about, get something you want.] …and the lust of the eyes… [Look at all the advertisements and all the things that they have for that.] …and the pretentious pride of physical life—is not from the Father, but is from the world…. [Everyone's getting involved.] …And the world and its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God abides forever" (vs 15-17).

Now some people have been confronted when they first hear that Christmas is not in the Scriptures. They first find out that the Bible says quoting God, concerning their feast days, He says, 'I hate your feast days.' They think, 'Boy!' I got an email from a man who said, 'Oh, I just found out about Christmas. How am I going to approach it with my wife?' This was like three weeks before Christmas last year. I said, 'Best thing to do is wait until after Christmas, because you're so close to it. You don't want to spring it on her right now. That'll give you a chance to point out some of the things and details about it, so that people, your family and your wife, will understand.' Because they think if you don't keep Christmas, you're against the family, you're against God, you're against the church. That's how people are. But here it is, it's going to pass away. You can be guaranteed in the Millennium there will not be any Christmas or Easter or New Years, or any of those days. So it's just like it says: Lies told over generation and repeated over and over and over again, when someone brings the truth about it and shows that it's wrong, they consider the speaker a raving lunatic. So we'll have to see how things go. But Christmas better watch out, because Halloween is catching up with sales and things like that. They sell more costumes and adults spend more money on Halloween than they do on Christmas.

Now let's learn something from today. Living in this world, we have a lot of things that we're confronted with. Everyone is confronted with difficulties and trials and stress and especially those who are now dealing with unemployment, loss of jobs, loss of homes, and their whole lives are upside down. They don't know what's happening and they don't know how these things are coming about and they don't know why they're coming upon them. Most of them don't know their way out of it. Well, when we have troubles and difficulties like this come along, we understand that there's just like Paul said, 'There are perilous times shall come.' We're in them right now. So what we need to look to is the hope of God and deliverance from these things and our troubles and our difficulties.

Troubles and difficulties are also the test by fire as it were, so that through that you can develop the character and through that you have to make the choice.

  • Will I always chose God?
  • Will I always trust God?
  • Will God help me?
  • Will God deliver me?
  • How is this going to come out?

Many times God will work through other people and so forth to help you.

Let's come here to Luke 18 and let's see something that we have a promise that God gives us. Now after the parable of the unjust judge that the judge finally heard because this widow was coming and saying, 'Avenge me of my enemies.' Then He draws the comparison. Look at all the trouble that this little widow had, many troubles, many difficulties, but she never, never gave up. And we don't know who the adversary was, we don't know what he was trying to do, we don't know if he was trying to collect excessive rent or anything like that from her. We don't know exactly what it was, but it was illegal and unlawful and finally the judge intervened and ruled for her.

Luke 18:7: "And shall not God execute vengeance for His elect…" Remember, vengeance belongs to God. What Satan wants us to do when troubles and difficulties come along and we all go through them, every one of us, we have, our family has, you have. Come down to times where you don't know how you're going to make your mortgage payment. You don't know where you're going to get employment, you don't know what is going to happen, you don't know what is taking place with your children, you don't know about your mother and father, and all of those things become very worrisome difficulties. When we find something that is wrong, then the automatic reaction is to get mad and hateful and bitter and things like this, and that's not going to solve the problem. Rather that adds to the problem, because God is the One who will execute vengeance for His elect. Now He will do it in His time and His place according to His will, but He promises that He will.

But notice what we are to do: "…for His elect, who cry out to Him day and night… [So whenever there is a problem or difficulty, pray about it day and night, day and night, day and night. Do what you need to do. Ask God to help and intervene and He will.] …and patiently watch over them?…. [God has lots of patience with us. ] …I tell you that He will execute vengeance for them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall He find the true faith on the earth?"

Now that's a very interesting thing—isn't it? Do people really believe God in this modern age? And also, there are two ways that true faith means. It means:

  • Really believing in God.
  • Having the true structure of faith through the beliefs that are in the Bible.

So He asked, "…shall He find the true faith on the earth?"

Then He goes on showing here, v 9: "And to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others, He also spoke this parable: 'Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector…. [If there's any one occupation that is very despised, it is tax collectors.] …The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself in this manner… [Very self-righteous. We don't want to get self-righteous, either.] …"God, I thank You that I am not like other men… [He brings out things that are important. God does not want us to be these following things, but the whole point was missed by this Pharisee.] …I am not like other men—extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers—or even as this tax collector. I fast twice in the week, and I give a tithe of everything that I gain"'" (vs 9-12).

Now, let's stop and ask about these things here. Does God expect you to not be an extortioner? Of course! Does He expect you to not be unrighteous? Of course! Does He expect you not to commit adultery or fornication or sexual immorality? Yes! But if you compare yourself among yourself, then you're not wise. And that's what happens too many times when there are troubles and difficulties.

So he says, "'"I fast twice in the week, and I give a tithe of everything that I gain." And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat himself on the chest, saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner."…. [And actually the Greek bears the emphasis of the sinner. That's how he saw himself.] (Now notice the whole process and the operation of these two things we find here in v 14): …I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled; and the one who humbles himself shall be exalted." (vs 12-14). Now let's see how that applies to hope and deliverance. We can look and see how God can help us and lead us and direct us.

Let's come to the book of Proverbs. One of the things that is always important to remember and keep in mind is this: we find our answers to our problems and difficulties in the Bible and through prayer and through trusting God, through hoping in His deliverance, and He will provide. Now many times it'll look like He's not going to provide, but then there's the rescue at the last minute.

Proverbs 12:13: "The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips, but the just shall come out of trouble." What did it say about the tax collector? He was justified. That meant he was just. So God shows that He'll bring us out of trouble. Now sometimes it doesn't look like it when it's coming upon us.

Come over here to Proverbs 11:8. When we find ourselves in difficulty and are looking to God to help us, let's use the Word of God and trust the Word of God, and know that it will happen. "The righteous is delivered out of trouble… [And we're going to see that we find ourselves in lots of trouble many times.] …but the wicked comes in his stead…. [That ties right in with Luke 18:9 and 10.] …A hypocrite destroys his neighbor with his mouth, but through knowledge the righteous shall be delivered" (vs 8-9). You know God, you know the Word of God, you know the Truth of God, you have the Spirit of God, so He's going to deliver you.

Since we're in Proverbs and we'll go back to the Psalms here in just a minute and we'll spend a lot of time in the Psalms. That's why when you have troubles and difficulties, use the Psalms as your prayer life. Take the Bible, open it up to different Psalms, get on your knees, read the Psalms, make those Psalms part of your prayers. Then claim the promises that are there. You can say, 'Oh, God, hear me; help me; deliver me; You are righteous, You are good; You have promised to help and I'm asking for You to intervene and fulfill Your promises. I know that You're a God Who is true, I know that You're a God Who cannot lie.' Then you have to be like the tax collector and repent of your sins.

Proverbs 3:1. This also shows us some things that we need to do and not do. "My son… [Now what are we to become? The sons and daughters of God—correct? So let's put a spiritual application to each one of us here.] …do not forget my law… [Not only the law of God, but also the teachings of Christ, everything that we have in the New Testament, and so forth.] …but let your heart keep my commandments… [Now that's an important thing. Because when you do something from your heart that means it's an integral part of your way of thinking and your emotions, so that you do it because you love God.] (Now here's what it will do): …For they shall add length of days, and long life, and peace to you" (vs 1-2).

Now let's think about long life. What are we talking about concerning us? Eternal life, yes indeed! Now in spite of the troubles and difficulties that come along, and even when you see the enemy in trouble don't rejoice. God will take care of them. "Do not let mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them upon the tablet of your heart… [The attitude is the most important. Remember the repentance of the tax collector.] (Now here's what it's going to do): …And so you shall find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man" (vs 3-4).

Now what is this to lead to? This is the most difficult thing when you're confronted with catastrophic problems. "Trust the LORD with all your heart… [Now that means you have to know and understand God. That means you have to know and understand His Word.] …and lean not to your own understanding." So what do you pray? God,

  • lead me with Your Spirit
  • give me understanding
  • give me wisdom
  • help then, show me what I need to do.
  • help me around the difficulties and problems that I'm confronted with
  • open the door and let the way be clear.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths…. [There it is! So if you have trouble that comes along, don't go out and try and solve it until you have prayed, until you have studied, until you have put yourself in God's hands to trust Him, because hope, trust, and deliveranceall come from God.] …Do not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil" (vs 6-7). And that's how we can grow in grace and knowledge and understanding, and what we need to do.

Now let's come to the book of Psalms. Let's come to Psalm 37, and we'll be here quite a bit, because the Psalms are very key in understanding what we need to do. Look at every word of God as a promise to claim. Psalm 37:22: "For those blessed of Him shall inherit the earth; and those cursed of Him shall be cut off." That is true in everything.

When you're in trouble, it's so easy to look out and see people in the world who are motivated by lust and greed prosper for awhile, but it's just like the article that Jim handed me here before services. There's a way now to make it look like you have gold and you don't, by taking bars of tungsten, which weigh almost identical to the weight of gold—gold weighs 19.32 grams per centimeter; tungsten weighs 19.3 grams per centimeter. They know that in buying and selling gold bars there is now a way that they have discovered that people have actually done it by taking tungsten bars, overlaying them with gold, and then in the transportation of it to switch; in the transportation of it to take and stamp right on the bar as if it were the real thing. Now they're worried, 'We wonder what's in Fort Knox. Is it gold or tungsten?' God's way always works.

Here's why: "The steps of a good man are made firm by the LORD, and He delights in his way…. [The truth is you can delight in God's ways and God can see what you're doing that pleases Him. It works both ways.] …Though he fall… [We all do.] …he shall not be utterly cast down, for the LORD upholds him with His hand" (vs 23-24). There's another promise we can claim. Let's see what else this tells us. There's an awful lot in this Psalm, which helps us to understand how God if we're hoping in Him, looking to Him, trusting in Him, will deliver us.

Now here's quite a statement, v 25: "I have been young, and now I am old… [That applies to a lot of us. You think about: "Would you do the things today at this age that you did when you were young? No! A lot of them you would never, never do.] (But here's what he said): …yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread. All the day long he deals graciously and lends, and his children are blessed…. [So even in difficult times, you never stop doing what is right.] …Depart from evil and do good; and live forevermore…. [All of these promises. Remember, even in difficult times to do what is good and right, there's a blessing.] …For the LORD loves justice and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the earth and dwell in it forever" (vs 25-29). So again, what is he doing? He's looking at the ultimate goal, the ultimate calling.

Here's why, v 30: "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide…. [So there we go, from our heart, loving God, serving God, hoping in His way.] …The wicked watches the righteous and seeks to kill him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. Wait on the LORD and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the earth; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it" (vs 30-34). Now there's a promise that we can relate to going clear back to Rev. 16 and the pouring out of the seven last plagues—right? Then after that, coming on the earth with Christ to help set up the kingdom of God and rule the world. There it is right there.

So when you look out, here's another good description of today: "I have seen the ruthless wicked in great power and spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil. Yet he passed away, and lo, he was no more; and I searched for him, but he could not be found. Mark the blameless man and behold the upright one, for the end of that man is peace…. [So when there are troubles and difficulties, you have peace, peace of mind, you have the promises of God.] But the sinners shall be destroyed together; the prosperity of the wicked shall be cut off…. (vs 35-38).

Is that what we're seeing today? Yes! We just found out this last week that one of the Arab nations that touted itself to be really rich and having lots of money, remember the—I don't know if you saw it on National Geographic or the History Channel where one of the princes of Dubai is building this big city out in the Persian Gulf and he's had all of the expensive equipment and pumping rock and pumping water and sand and building these to sell them for a high price to the real super-rich of the world. The world was shocked on Friday. Dubai said, 'We want relief for six months to not pay interest on our $56-billion in loans.' Everyone thought, 'Oh, they have an endless supply of oil to pay for it.' Sooner or later—and I think the most infamous one to say it was Jeremiah Wright, 'The chickens come home to roost.' Or in this case: 'the vultures circle and wait for the rotten flesh.'

Verse 39: "But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them because they take refuge in Him" (vs 39-40). That's why in time of trouble, never forget God!

Now notice what he says here. Let's look at some of the key words and this is what we're going to do when we go through some of these Psalms:

  • salvation of the righteous
  • strength
  • time of trouble
  • the Lord shall help them
  • deliver
  • save them

—key words in understanding all of it.

Now let's come to Psalm 25—this is quite a Psalm, and all of these then are when you're in trouble, when you're in difficulty, when you have things that are coming upon you that are overwhelming you, and sometimes it's that way. There's one Psalm that says, 'Oh, I'm in the mire and I'm sinking. Help me!'

Psalm 25:1: "To You, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You… [Notice again—trust. We're going to see trust, deliverance, hope, and salvation. That's what we're going to focus on today.] …do not let me be ashamed, let not my enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none who wait on You be ashamed; let them be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause…. [And God delivers.] …Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths" (vs 1-4). God wants you converted. He's interested in your character and all of this is based upon the love of God to you, your love to God, and that you're walking in faith, believing in hope, and living in love—all of it.

What's very important in time of trouble, do not be deceived. That's why v 5 says: "Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You do I wait all the day long…. [And God does deliver.] …Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindness, for they have been of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your lovingkindness remember me for Your goodness' sake, O LORD" (vs 5-7).

Now see how these kind of prayers—you can just take these—as I said:

  • open the Bible
  • read them
  • pray about them
  • let these words be your words
  • think about it

and then start applying them to your own situation and your own life and begin asking God in the same way that you find in the Psalms. You're going to find that in itself is going

  • to give you hope
  • to give you comfort
  • to lift you up

and God is going to:

  • help you
  • inspire you
  • direct your paths

Verse 8: "Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He will teach sinners in the way…. [And always remember this: When the times of trouble come, that's so you can learn, to teach you in the way of God.] …The meek He will guide in judgment; and the meek He will teach His way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies" (vs 8-10). There we have some tremendous intervention—don't we?

Come down here to v 14: "The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant…. [The deliverance we are talking about is the secret deliverance that comes from God, and also the purpose of life to the world. They don't know! So this is a secret of the Lord. And Jesus said, 'It's been given to you to know the mysteries'—or the secrets—'of the Kingdom of God.'] …My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net" (vs 14-15).

Now I heard the other day, Rush Limbaugh, I listen to him, and I heard him say that this administration lives in a universe of lies. I thought he coined that quite well—universe of lies. Everything is a lie. Nothing is true, and yet it's presented as true. I couldn't help but think about the Scripture which says there in Isa. 25:8 that there is a covering over the eyes of all nations, and Satan is the one who is deceiving. So that is true, but we, in the Church of God and having the knowledge of God, are to live in the universe of truth. That is going to help us and rescue from the things that we're confronted with.

Verse 16: "Turn unto me, and be gracious unto me, for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; O bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins…. [You have physical pain, you have emotional pain, you have physical distress, you have emotional distress, you have mental distress and all of these things.] (Now notice what he says here that these are all enemies): …Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred…. [Sometimes you're going to be really right up against it.] (So here's the prayer): …O keep my soul and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on You. Redeem Israel… [you can put your name there, whatever your name is] …O God, out of all his troubles" (vs 16-22). And God will do it. Now notice:

  • we have troubles enlarged
  • we have affliction
  • we have those that hate us
  • but keep my soul
  • deliver me
  • let me not be ashamed
  • redeem Israel

—and you can just say, 'Redeem me.'

Now let's come to Psalm 115 and let's look about trusting in God, and how this helps us in everything that we do. When you have trust, you have faith, you have steadfastness, you have consistency, you have confidence. These are what you would call trilogies, or three verses in a row that are very similar and repetitive.

Psalm 115:9: "O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield O you who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: He is their help and their shield" (vs 9-11). So we look at it in three different ways—don't we?

  • On a national way—which, unfortunately, we're not doing—we can say house of Israel is like the nation.
  • We can say house of Aaron is much like the ministry—trust in the Lord.
  • And then you who fear the Lord—'trust in the Lord for He is their help and their shield.'

"The LORD has been mindful of us… [God never forgets us. Remember this: You have the Spirit of God. Christ and God the Father spiritually are dwelling in you. They are with you through all these troubles and difficulties, and they will help you out of them. They are always mindful of us.] …He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron…. [Now notice, the three again: He will bless us, He will bless the house of Israel, He will bless the house of Aaron.] …He will bless those who fear the LORD, both small and great" (vs 12-13). So this is really a tremendous Psalm.

Now notice what's going to happen. Look at the difficulties you've gone through in your life and then see where you are today. See how many that God has delivered you out of, and look at how God has blessed you and helped you in it. "He will bless those who fear the LORD, both small and great. The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children. May you be blessed of the LORD Who made the heavens and the earth…. [Now you can't receive any greater blessing than that. Christ is the One Who has made everything.] …The heavens, even the heavens, are the LORD'S; but the earth He has given to the children of men" (vs 13-16). And so there He can be with us every step of the way.

Psalm 118, and let's see how we are to have our relationship with God. That's why you've heard it said how many times: prayer and study—a personal relationship with God. You can find this many, many times: when you're really not praying as you ought to, what happens? Trouble comes along—doesn't it? And then what does that do? That reminds you, you've got to pray. Here's also part of our relationship with God: Psalm 118:1. "O, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good because His steadfast love endures forever…. [Or as the King James says, 'His mercy.'] …Let Israel now say that His steadfast loves endures forever" (vs 1-2).

Now notice again the three verses in a row; actually, in this case, four: "Let the house of Aaron now say that His steadfast love endures forever. Let those who fear the LORD now say that His steadfast love endures forever. I called upon the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place…. [So deliverance and salvation comes from God. All of this is defining the kind of trust that we need in God.] …The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (vs 3-6). Now that's quite a verse! The way the Lord is on our side is when we are on His side. We can't live our lives in sin and say, 'Oh, God, be with me.' No, the Lord is on our side when we are on His side.

Notice what happens, v 7: "The LORD is for me as my helper… [So when troubles come along, don't think God is against you and all these things are happening, God is not happy with you and God is not pleased with you. Take this Psalm, read it, pray to God, 'He is my helper.'] …therefore, I will look in triumph upon those who hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to trust in princes" (vs 7-9). So when these troubles and difficulties come along, the government says, 'Well, trust me, we'll take care of you.'

I heard something very interesting, too, on Rush's program where they had this over in Hawaii, they had this one resort place where there was a landslide and the state said it would take $4-million and two years to do the job. Well, the people all got together and they got their equipment together and they went out there and in eight days they cleaned up the landslide and opened up the park. So they went and did what was right, they didn't trust the government. Whenever the government says, 'Trust me,' you're in trouble! Whenever a politician says, 'Believe me,' and it's hard to believe him, watch out! That's why it says, 'Trust in the Lord, trust in the Lord.'

Now notice v 10 [transcriber's correction], it doesn't matter the odds. "All the nations surround me, but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them."

  • God is there to help
  • He is there to intervene
  • He's there to bless you
  • He's there to deliver you
  • He's there to help you overcome in all your circumstances

Track 2: or Download

Let's come to Psalm 55. Again, what I want you to really think about as we go through these things, how you can relate to God by using these Psalms to help you in your prayers, because lots of times someone says, 'Well, I don't know what to pray. I don't know how to pray.' That's what the Psalms are for. This helps you in really coming to understand that

  • God is there
  • He will hear you
  • He's going to help you
  • He's going to rescue you

—but you have to trust in Him.

Now notice how this Psalm 55:1: "Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not Yourself from my supplication. Attend to me, and answer me; I am distraught in my trouble and moan in my complaint… [Have you ever been distraught, not know what to do? Have everything like your whole world is coming apart? Well, we're going to experience that around us as we go down in time. The key is this: You don't develop trust when the trouble comes. You develop trust before the trouble comes, so that you can trust in God. Remember the parable of the ten virgins: five were wise, five were foolish; five trusted in God and they took their lamps with oil in their vessels in addition to what they had in their lamps. The foolish came to them and said, 'We don't have any oil, give us of your oil.' They said, 'We can't. You go to those who sell and buy for yourself.' In other words, you have to keep up your spiritual relationship with God all the time, so then when you are confronted with troubles God will help you, God will intervene.] …Because of the voice of the enemy; because of the oppression of the wicked—for they cast mischief upon me, and in anger they hate me" (vs 1-3).

Notice how he felt his troubles, and sometimes troubles are so heaped upon you, emotionally, mentally, and the oppression of it—just like it says here in v 4: "My heart is pained within me; and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me…. [So he says, 'Where's the relief?] …And I said, 'Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest…. [That's not going to happen until the resurrection.] …Lo, then I would wander far off; I would lodge in the wilderness" (vs 4-7). Get away from it all, get away from all the stress, all the tension, everybody else, and all the things coming in upon me. Then it says, "Selah." That means think on this, pray about it!

Now come back here to Psalm 54:1: "Save me… [Have you ever cried out to God, 'Just save me!' So here we have, 'Hear me, give ear, attend to my prayer and my supplication.] …Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your might…. [And God will.] …Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth…. [Now some of this has to do with how Christ felt as well as how David felt.] …For strangers have risen up against me, and violent men seek after my soul; they have not set God before them. Selah" (vs 1-3). Think on this! Wherever you read Selah, that means stop, think on this, meditate on it. In other words, then apply it to your own life and your own circumstances.

Now notice what happens after you think on it and meditate on it, v 4: "Behold, God is my helper; the LORD is with those who uphold my soul. He shall reward evil to my enemies. Destroy them in Your faithfulness" (vs 4-5). And God can do that. You pray for your enemies in many different ways.

  • May they be converted.
  • If they're not, keep them far away from me.
  • If they don't turn to You, then you judge them.
  • If they become so wicked, then God, You take care of them in Your judgment and destroy them.

Verse 6: "I will freely sacrifice to You… [And our sacrifices today are prayers of praise to God, trusting God in faith.] …I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good, For He has delivered me out of all trouble…" (vs 6-7). And that's why we have troubles come upon us, so that we can look to God to deliver us from it. So you look back and think of the worst troubles that you have had in your life, the lowest point that you have come to in your emotions, in your experience and everything that you have done, has God delivered you? Yes, of course! When you were going through it and experiencing it, you probably didn't think that God would. Maybe at that time you were way far off from God. Maybe at that time you never heard anything about God, but what did the trouble do? Just like it says of the children of Israel: 'In their trouble, they cried to Me,' God says. "For He has delivered me out of all trouble, and my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies" (v 7).

Now let's come here to Psalm 34:1; here's another one in how God is going to deal with us. Notice how this applies, notice God does not intervene to help the wicked. He doesn't intervene to help the arrogant. We'll see that. Psalm 34:1: "I will bless the LORD at all times… [Showing a continuous relationship with God. That's why a lot of people said, 'Well, all I hear is prayer and study.' Well, true! That's right! That's to remind you that God wants you in a relationship with Him every day. That way you're going to have strength in trouble. Don't wait until trouble comes, have your defenses already up. Have your help and strength and trust and faith in God in His deliverance.] …His praise shall always be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear and be glad" (vs 1-2).

  • So God is there to help the humble.
  • God is there to help the contrite.
  • God is there to help the meek.

"O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together…. [Now notice what we need to do]: …I sought the LORD…" (vs 3-4). Remember the promise that Jesus gave, 'Seek and you will find; ask and it shall be given; knock and it shall be opened.' The Greek there has the intensity, if you seek you keep on seeking; and knock and you keep on knocking; and to ask and keep on asking. Let me say something here: A vain repetition is something like the Catholics do when they do 'hail, Mary' and 'our father.' A needed repetition is when the prayer still needs to be answered. In other words, if there is something in your life or something in the lives of others that you are praying for, you keep praying every day until the answer comes. Those repetitions are not vain. Those repetitions are needful.

  • Does the problem need to be solved? Yes!
  • Do they need to be helped? Yes!
  • Do they need to be healed? Yes!
  • Do they need to come to have peace of mind? Yes!
  • Do they need to return to God? Yes!

—all of those things. "I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears" (v 4).

I saw a very interesting interview on television the other day. A man wrote the book, Fearless, and he believed in God. He showed how to get rid of the fears. Well, you get rid of the fears by:

  • having confidence in God
  • trusting in God
  • looking to Him
  • having faith in God.

Now notice what happened, v 5: "They looked to Him and were radiant; and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard, and saved him out of all his troubles" (vs 5-6). Now look at that—all his troubles! Whatever they are, you take it to God. Don't fret and worry and stew about it and go to bed and lie there and toss and turn or be so fretful that you can't think of anything else during the day; whatever it may be. If that's the case, go pray. If that's the case and you can't sleep, get up and pray. That's what we need to do. God will hear us; He will save us.

Now there's another help that's always there, v 7: "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them…. [There's angelic help available, because all the angels are ministering spirits sent to minister to those who are heirs of salvation. That's us! Of course, it talks about in the New Testament of the little children that the angel of God is always beholding the face of the Lord. So how many angels are there? Who knows? Is there one assigned to every individual? Who knows? I don't know. There's the other side of the coin with Satan and his angels called demons, they're always there working with the wicked. So we have angelic help. How many times have things transpired where either in a accident you were saved out of it or you just missed a catastrophe because you weren't there and maybe you should have been there, but you didn't get there and the catastrophe happened. Whatever it may be.] (Now because of this, it says): …The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him and delivers them."

So when you call out to God for deliverance, He will. He's got the strength and power with His Spirit. The angels have the strength and power and have been assigned to do it. Claim the promise. Now notice because of that, it says: "O taste and see that the LORD is good… [And He will intervene for you.] …blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him…. [Not in your own solution, because as we read in Prov. 3, 'Trust in the Lord and lean not to your own understanding.'] …O fear the LORD, all you saints, for there is nothing lacking to those who fear Him" (vs 8-9)—and so forth.

Let's come down here to v 14: "Depart from evil and do good… [So we always have to examine our conduct.] …seek peace and pursue it…. [Now notice this: a promise. Don't think that God does not know. Don't think that God does not hear, because He does.] …The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry…. [Always! When you get on your knees and pray, don't get up off your knees and say, 'Well, I wonder if God heard me.' He always hears. Or get up and say, 'Well, I wonder if God is going to answer that prayer.' He's going to answer it; you don't have to doubt. He's going to answer it how? In His way; according to His Truth; according as to how He's dealing with you.] …The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth" (vs 14-16).

Comparison: the world/the saved. "The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles…. [Notice how many times we have covered—you're delivered out of all the troubles. Why? Because you trust in the Lord; you look to Him. He will hear; He will answer.] …The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are of a contrite spirit…. [Again, showing our attitude. Now here's something that we're confronted with. Now when we read this sometimes we think, 'People in the world don't have troubles.' I'm here to tell you, people in the world have mighty, mighty troubles, so don't feel picked on.] …Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all" (vs 17-19). Notice: all troubles, all afflictions.

If we get weak and old and die from whatever affliction may come along, we still have the triumph over it through God, through the resurrection—right? A new body, a new mind, eternal life, live in glory; all of those things are there,

  • because God has called us,
  • because God loves us
  • because God cares for us
  • because Christ died for us

—and He's at the right hand of God to intervene for us, to help us in every way.

Verse 22: "The LORD redeems the soul of His servants; and none of them who take refuge in Him shall be condemned." So that's quite a promise that we have. That's a tremendous Psalm for us to really know and understand and realize.

Now turn here to Psalm 37:23: "The steps of a good man are made firm by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the LORD upholds him with His hand" (vs 23-24). I've already covered part of this—didn't I? Yes!

Let's come to Psalm 31:1: "In You, O LORD, have I taken refuge, let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness…. [Now notice: refuge, deliver, and righteousness.] …Bow down Your ear to me; deliver me quickly… [there's deliverance again.] …be my strong Rock, a fortress of defense to save me… [What did Jesus say about the rock? 'The one who hears the words of Christ and practices them and builds his house upon a rock'—though all the difficulties and troubles come like floods and waters and wind and rain, it's going to stand because it's built on a rock vs the foolish man who hears the words of God, doesn't practice them, and he builds his house on sand. 'The rains come and the floods come and the wind blows and the house is gone.' He delivers; He helps us.] …Bow down Your ear to me; deliver me quickly; be my strong Rock, a fortress of defense to save me; For You are my Rock and my fortress; therefore for Your name's sake lead me and guide me. Pull me up out of the net that they have hidden for me, for You are my strength…. [Then it talks about Christ. From here on, most of the rest of the Psalm is a prophecy of Christ.] …Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of Truth" (vs 1-6). Those were the last words of Christ: 'Into Your hand I commend My spirit.'

Now come down here to v 23: "O love the LORD, all you His saints!.... [Because everything is based on loving God—God's love to you, your love to God.] …The LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud doer…. [Don't worry about the wicked; God's going to take care of them.] …Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD" (vs 23-24). So this is how we trust in God; receive the help; receive the intervention.

Now let's come back to the New Testament; let's come to Mark 11 and let's see how this is accomplished, because trust and faith are like a hand and glove, they go together. Here it shows again the kind of prayer that we need to have and the kind of faith that we need to have. This is where they were coming to and from the temple during the last days leading up to the crucifixion. As Jesus was going into the temple, He cursed the fig tree on the way. Then they passed by.

Mark 11:20: "And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. Then Peter remembered and said to Him, 'Look, Master! The fig tree that You cursed has dried up.' And Jesus answered and said to them, 'Have faith from God…. [Now the Greek actually can mean this: have God's faith. Meaning that the faith that you have comes from God. It's one of the fruits of the Spirit: faith, hope, and love.] (Now here's what can happen): …For truly I say to you, whoever shall say to this mountain, "Be taken away and be cast into the sea," and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said will take place, he shall have whatever he shall say… [Now let's look at this not only from just the physical mountain, because we're not to go around and say, 'Mountain, go into the sea.' Let's look at it this way: What is the mountain of problems that confront you? and What are you faced with when you have heaps of trouble? Ask God to help you, take them away, cast them into the sea.] …and shall not doubt in his heart… [asking that God will help you and deliver you] …but shall believe that what he said will take place, he shall have whatever he shall say…. [That's also another promise: God hears, God answers, God will provide. There are a couple of other things that we attach to it.] …For this reason I say to you, all the things that you ask when you are praying, believe that you will receive them, and they shall be given to you'" (vs 20-24).

What is the caveat that comes with that? There are a couple. Hold your place right here and come to Matthew 6:9—this is the model prayer, not the prayer we are to repeat, but the model prayer. "Therefore, you are to pray after this manner: 'Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name; Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven'" (vs 9-10). So it has to be according to the will of God. Not only are we to pray, 'Your kingdom come,' but that also means for us that we are govern our lives with God's Spirit according to His commandments, and that we are under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of God, though the Kingdom of God is not yet here on earth. That's how it works. 'Your will be done.' Not my will, but Your will. And even Jesus prayed that prayer just before He was arrested—remember that?

Come back here to Mark 11 again. What do you do when you have doubts and you don't know if God is going to do it? Confess to God you have doubts. Ask God to help you believe. Ask God to help you understand His will and how He will respond to us, because He will.

Mark 11:24: "'For this reason I say to you, all the things that you ask when you are praying, believe that you will receive them, and they shall be given to you…. [So the first condition is according to the will of God. Let's notice the second condition]: …But when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive… [Now notice that is not conditional. Now sometimes there are things that are very hard to forgive, very difficult to forgive, but Christ says you are to forgive. We want our sins forgiven—don't we? Should we not then forgive others? Now what if you can't get to them and say, 'I forgive you.' What if it is something that has happened a long time ago—what do you do then? You still forgive before God and put them in God's hands and let God take care of them. And what happens: You relieve yourself of that burden because you put it on Christ and you give it to God. That is necessary for the answering of prayers.] …But when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive, so that your Father Who is in heaven may forgive you your offenses" (vs 24-25). And lots of times our offenses against God do not take place necessarily in overt actions, but with internal thoughts. Yet God is the heart-knowing God. So remember this:

Let's come back here to Psalm 103:1 and we can claim these promises. This also becomes a very important thing for us to understand. "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy name…. [God wants all of you: your heart, your mind, your soul, your being.] …Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…. [You can stop and you can recite all of those benefits back to God and thank Him for it.] …Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases" (vs 1-3).

And they now know—and the Scriptures have told us, and Christ is telling us back there in Mark 11—that healing comes with forgiveness. Not only forgiveness to you, but your forgiveness to others. Now let's ask a question: do you want all your sins forgiven? Yes, of course! How can you then ask for the forgiveness of your sins and hold something in the back of your mind against someone else? That's why Jesus says, 'Forgive.' It's important to have your sins forgiven.

"Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your desires with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (vs 4-5). Those are some of the promises to claim.

Let's come back here to Mark 11. I know that it is a difficult proposition, but I want you to think and remember this: When Jesus was hanging there on the cross dying, He said, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.' That is the example and that is the model. Mark 11:25: "'But when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive, so that your Father Who is in heaven may forgive you your offenses…. [the Word of God; comes from Christ] …For if you do not forgive, neither will your Father Who is in heaven forgive you your offenses'" (vs 25-26). I remember I got a letter from a woman one time, said, 'My God would never do that.' I went and explained the parable of Matt. 18. I said, 'Well, that's what Jesus said—didn't he? And if your God is the Father, the God of Jesus Christ when He was in the flesh on the earth, that's what He said.' So this will also help us in our understanding of what we need to do for each other and with each other, and so forth.

Let's come to Colossians 1. Now there are two things that we are rescued from, or delivered or saved from. Now when we're called and when we are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit, God is the One Who has rescued us. He's done it individually and directly for us. Colossians 1:7: "Even as you also learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ for you; Who has also informed us of your love in the Spirit. For this cause we also, from the day that we heard of it, do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…. [That's the result of the relationship with God and in loving Him.] …That you may walk worthily of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God… [Now here are the positive things in trusting in God and looking to His way, having His Spirit, maintaining a relationship with God.] …Being strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, unto all endurance and long-suffering with joy… [This is how you have peace of mind even in times of difficulty.] …giving thanks to the Father, Who has made us qualified for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light… [Now notice v 13. This is the greatest thing that can happen to us.] …Who has personally rescued us from the power of darkness… [And who is the prince of the power of darkness? Satan the devil.] …and has transferred us unto the kingdom of the Son of His love" (vs 7-13).

That means we are now under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of God. But He has rescued us from the power of darkness that's in this world and that comes from Satan the devil.

Let's come back here to Romans 7 and let's see what else He has delivered us from, and that is our own personal carnal nature, because there is the pull of human nature, which is a law of sin within our members, that is automatic. That's why we need the Word of God, the Spirit of God, growing in grace and knowledge in everything that we do. Romans 7:21, after analyzing his behavior and everything, Paul said this: "Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me."

Have you ever had that happen to you? You do something that's really good and all of a sudden the evil that's within you pops up, just like this game. I remember one time when we went to the Feast up in Tahoe, we went down to eat at one of the casinos down there, because you can get great meals for $10, thick pieces of prime rib and steak, and things like that. The kids were with us and Jonathan and David were with us, and they had a little game area for kids. One of them was that you had a little hammer. The game to be played was this: A head would pop up out of a hole and there were many holes and many heads down below. I remember Jonathan doing this and David doing it, they had a contest, how many heads could you knock down. And they took this and BAM! popped up another place, BAM! popped up in another place. Sometimes that's just the way it is with fighting evil—right? You overcome this over here and up comes something else. So you overcome that and here comes something else. Well, we have to be delivered from it, because that is in our member.

So Paul looked at himself and he said, v 24: "O what a wretched man I am!.... [Because you're torn between the righteousness and goodness of God, the love of God, and the pull of human nature and sin and Satan out there in the world coming after you as well.] …Who shall save me… [And that is deliver and rescue me.] …from the body of this death? I thank God for His salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, on the one hand, I myself serve the law of God with my mind… [You are still there and overcoming.] …but on the other hand, with the flesh, I serve the law of sin" (vs 24-25). Not meaning that you give yourself over to it, but when that sin pops up in your mind—just like that game and the hammer—that you use the power and Spirit of God to overcome it and God rescues you from it.

Now let's see the attitude that we are to have. Let's come to Philippians 4. Here is then how to keep not only an even keel, but balance in everything that you say. Philippians 4:4: "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your moderation be known to all men; the Lord is near…. [They thought that Christ was coming very soon at that time. Here we are nearly 2,000 years later and we're what? Christ is nearer than He ever has been, but how far down the road that is, we don't know. But nevertheless it is true.] …Do not be anxious about anything

  • Do not worry.
  • Do not be frustrated.
  • Do not be overcome with anxiety.
  • Do not be overcome with oppression or depression.

…but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God in everything…. [ Daily, hourly, He will hear.] …And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding… [So, that in spite of the troubles, in spite of the difficulties, you know God is going to deliver you and He's going to give you peace of mind.] …the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus….. [Like having a sentinel right there in our minds.] …Finally, brethren, whatever things are true… [This is how you overcome evil thoughts. You replace it with: good thoughts, Godly thoughts, righteous thoughts, humble thoughts, yielding to God.] …whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things" (vs 4-8).

Now that's how you grow and change and overcome, and God delivers you out of all your troubles. Verse 9: "Whatever things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me… [or that is out of the Bible now] …you do also; and the God of peace shall be with you." That's how you

  • trust in the Lord
  • receive the salvation of God
  • are delivered out of all your troubles

—and God is with you in everything.

Scriptural References:

  • 1-John 2:15-17
  • Luke 18:7-14
  • Proverbs 12:13
  • Proverbs 11:8-9
  • Proverbs 3:1-7
  • Psalm 37:22-40
  • Psalm 25:1-10, 14-22
  • Psalm 115:9-16
  • Psalm 118:1-10
  • Psalm 55:1-7
  • Psalm 54:1-7
  • Psalm 34:1-9,14-19, 22
  • Psalm 37:23-24
  • Psalm 31:1-6,23-24
  • Mark 11:20-24
  • Matthew 6:9-10
  • Mark 11:24-25
  • Psalm 103:1-5
  • Mark 11:25-26
  • Colossians 1:7-13
  • Romans 7:21, 24-25
  • Philippians 4:4-9

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Revelation 16
  • Isaiah 25:8

Also referenced: Books: Fearless by Max Lucado

FRC:lp
Transcribed: 12-10-09
Formatted:  bo—12-11-09

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