I pray to you, O LORD, my rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you are silent, I might as well give up and die.
~Psalm 28:1, NLT
Never was a faithful prayer lost. Some make a longer voyage than others, but they all return with cargo in tack, and the praying soul is richer for the asking.
Steven Lawson says, “One of the most exhilarating aspects of the Christian life is the dynamic of answered prayer.” Psalm 28 begins with David’s petition and then breaks out into a celebration. I write prayers for more than one reason: first of all, it disciplines the mind to stay on track and secondly, you can go back and reread the prayers and see God’s answers. I have prayers that I prayed 40 years ago. God has not answered all my prayers in the ways that I had imagined and yes, I have had many friends die with cancer while I was praying for their healing but when I go back and read these old prayers, I am amazed at how God has answered so many of them. Prayer is many things to me: like David, it is a release from my burdens. Sometimes my heart gets so heavy, I have to pray, and give my burdens to HIM. Thus prayer can be a sweet relief but it is more, much more. I see prayer as an investment or a deposit. Thus I believe that no prayer is a waste of time. The only advice I gave our PASTOR SEARCH COMMITTEE was, “make sure you spend more time praying together, seeking God’s will, than anything else.” Judging my the evidence thus far, I think they did. I am telling you folks, prayer works. Find you a prayer closet and get yourself a pen and note book and pray. You don’t have to record everything you say, but record the things you ask for, then go back later and see what God has done. You are going to be surprised.
One other thing not necessarily related. I love the last verse of this Psalm, “Save your people! Bless Israel, your special possession. Lead them like a shepherd, and carry them in your arms forever.” Here is a picture of the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ carrying us in His gracious arms. David had mentioned his up lifted hands in worship earlier in the Psalm. The lifted hands are a symbol of surrender but they are also a cry for help. When little children want help from they parents, they lift their hands. They are saying, “take me, hold me, carry me.” I get upset with parents who scold them and say things like, “You have two feet use them, I am not taking you.” When this Psalm began, David felt exasperated, but in a spiritual sense, the Shepherd took him in his arms and carried him. When our strength is spent, His grace lifts us and carries us. Perhaps that is why the Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
I got a positive comment from David Wood about yesterday’s blog. I get regular feed back from Holly and Michael and I want you to know I appreciate it. I love affirmation and I don’t mind a different point of view as long as it comes from an intelligent person but I have no patience with moron’s which is code for Progressives. I was talking to a woman Tuesday while I was making hospital rounds. She watched the Oprah Show where they had the debate about ONE WAY SALVATION. She said and I quote, “Oprah is evil, she is full of the devil.” That comment came from an intelligent woman, not a deplorable angry white male.
Unfortunately, Oprah is not the only one who believes there is more than one way to heaven. There are a multitude of Baptist who are going the way of Cain. I had a seminary professor who believed Christ died as or example: this is hogwash. Christ died as our substitute. There is no salvation without the cross and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This idea that we can simply identify with Jesus by trying to be good is bologna. This is exactly what Cain attempted. The fruit of our labor, our good works, will not save us. It takes a blood sacrifice to atone for sins. Our culture mocks the blood and glorifies the goodness of man. Mark my word, no one is going to be saved by their own goodness. What folks don’t realize is that we have no goodness. We have nothing that God will accept, just like Cain. So keep working on your resume, keep a list of all your good deeds and your perfect attendance but it is not going to get you to heaven. We are all death and hell deserving sinners and the only way we can be saved in through Jesus. You may be thinking, “Bro. Jack, we get it, you have said this a thousand times.” You are right about the thousand times but you are wrong if you think everyone has got it. All Cains are self-willed and full of pride, they will not admit the error of their ways or their thinking and they don’t get it.