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Nate’s Notes: The Lord Gives and Takes Away

by CCCLampasas

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Job 1:21 and said: “Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Helen Adams Keller, who lived from June 27, 1880 to June 1, 1968, was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. She learned to “hear” people’s speech by reading their lips with her hands—her sense of touch had become extremely subtle. She became proficient at using braille and reading sign language with her hands as well.

In 1890, Keller began speech classes at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston. She would toil for 25 years to learn to speak so that others could understand her. From 1894 to 1896, she attended the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City. There, she worked on improving her communication skills and studied regular academic subjects. Around this time, Keller became determined to attend college. In 1896, she attended the Cambridge School for Young Ladies, a preparatory school for women.  In 1946, Keller was appointed counselor of international relations for the American Foundation of Overseas Blind. Between 1946 and 1957, she traveled to 35 countries on five continents.

It is hard to imagine a tougher life of suffering than to be born both deaf and blind. Hellen Keller looked at life in the proper way:

Helen Keller stated: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Job had wealth, status, a large family, and land. He faithfully served the Lord and even during incredible suffering, Job remained faithful. His wife told Job to curse God and die. His friends, instead of comforting Job, accused him of sinning against God. The Lord remained the one constant through Job’s trials. Even when he could not understand Yahweh’s actions or sense His presence, Job endured.

The writer of Ecclesiastes also understood that the Lord gives and takes away.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8  1 There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,  5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up,  a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend,  a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate,  a time for war and a time for peace. 

There are seasons in life when we are on the mountain tops and times when we are in the valleys. Hellen Keller knew suffering her entire life but she did not let her problems master her or control her destiny. No matter what season of life you are in, the Good Shepherd guides and loves you. For God so loved you, that he sent Jesus to live a perfect life, die a cruel death, rise from the grave, and ascend to the Father in glory.

Charles Spurgeon remarked in his sermon A Happy Christian:

The worldly blesses God while he gives him plenty, but the Christian blesses him when he smites him: he believes him to be too wise to err and too good to be unkind; he trusts him where he cannot trace him, looks up to him in the darkest hour, and believes that all is well. (Suprgon, Charles H. A Happy Christian. MTP 13:103)

All is well because we know who holds the future. All is well because of our relationship with the Triune God. We can experience true joy, true love, and true peace in Christ. Job completed our passage by stating in faith: praise the Lord! No matter what is happening in your life, praise the Lord!

Prayer:

Father,  We so often do not understand our suffering but we praise you regardless of our circumstances. May we have the faith to realize that You are greater than any problems we will experience. May we realize that You know our future and that You will create a new heavens and a new earth. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, amen.

 Pastor Nathan

Nate’s Notes: Satan Has Asked

by CCCLampasas

Luke 22:31-32 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Job 1:9-12 Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”  The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man, himself do not lay a finger.”

It is a wonderful truth that Satan has limits. In both passages the Lord has sovereign authority. The Devil is a created being, an angel, but Yahweh has always existed. What are some ways that God and Lucifer differ?

God is the only necessary being. Satan is a contingent being. “It is commonly accepted that there are two sorts of existent entities: those that exist but could have failed to exist, and those that could not have failed to exist. Entities of the first sort are contingent beings; entities of the second sort are necessary beings.” The universe could exist without Lucifer; it cannot exist without God.

The Triune God is everywhere. Angels and demons are limited like we are to one location. The Holy Spirit is inside every believer. There is no where that we can go without the presence of the Lord.

Yahweh is the Creator. The Accuser can only corrupt what the Lord has already made. The Lord is the author of all good things. The Father, Son, and Spirit created the universe. Demons are fallen angels; they can only deceive and destroy. We are to stand firm against the Evil One with the armor of God (Ephesians 6).

God is the righteous judge. Satan and his minions will be condemned.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The Alpha and Omega is omniscient! He knows everything and leads us as a shepherd leads their sheep.

Jesus has already won. Satan lost through Jesus’ incarnation, ministry, obedient life, death, resurrection, and ascension. We are awaiting with anticipation when Christ will return for his church.

The Triune God is the master of time. Yahweh never changes, and His plans will never be defeated.

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Prayer:

Father, You are glorious and holy. May Your name be praised forever. May we rely on You when we battle against our flesh, the world, and the Evil One. Thank you that you are without comparison. In the holy name of Jesus, we pray, amen.

Pastor Nathan

Nate’s Notes: The Lord is Close

by CCCLampasas

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;  Psalm 34:17-19 New International Version

A dad wrote about a trip he took with his son. One day, while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, “Hey Dad! Catch me!” I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and then yelled “Hey Dad!” I became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk. When I found my voice again I gasped in exasperation: “Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that???”

He responded with remarkable calmness: “Sure…because you’re my Dad.” His whole assurance was based in the fact that his father was trustworthy. He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted. Isn’t this even more true for a Christian? 1

Please read over the passage from Psalm 34 slowly and notice all of the verbs. The righteous cry out in their time of trouble and have many problems but all other actions are done by the Lord. The Lord hears, delivers, is close, and saves. Those are such beautiful promises to faithful believers. We receive so many blessings from the Father. Notice that the Lord is our perfect father.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:17-19

The Triune God always acts rightly and is forever faithful. The Lord is close to all who call upon him! God is not a distant tyrant just waiting for you to sin, so that He can punish you. Yahweh is not an absent father who created the universe and then abandoned it. The King of Kings is not so high and lifted up that He cannot hear your prayers. God is not a mute idol made of human hands. God is holy and exalted; however, the Lord is also close and loves us as a mother cares for her child.

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;  and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:13

God acts towards us a caring parent who comforts and aids us. This is a relationship. We also need to love God and love others as He loves us. This week consider your life with the being of all beings who cares for you more than any earthly mother or father. If your parents have died or you have a strained relationship with them, remember always that you are loved by the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Prayer:

Abba Father,

We praise you for your faithfulness and righteousness. Thank you that are near to us as a hen is close to her chicks. You will not abandon or mistreat us. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Nathan

Source:

  1. Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, Word Books Publisher, 1987, pp. 46-47.

Nate’s Notes: Abundant Goodness

by CCCLampasas

Photo Credit: Creation Swap

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! Psalm 31:19 New International Version

We are so blessed that the Lord’s goodness is not budgeted, earned, or limited. Yahweh’s abundant grace is available for those who through faith take refuge in Him. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. We cannot do anything to earn it.

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7 New International Version

The Lord is our refuge, our fortress. The Father is so good to us that He is our creator, protector, and sustainer. The Father’s angels also aid Him in looking out for His children.

Perhaps the greatest fortification in history is the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.

Home of NORAD, which monitors pretty much everything in North American airspace, the Cheyenne Mountain Complex uses the mountains around Colorado Springs as fortification. Sitting inside a hollowed-out space in the mountains, the air defense system reached the height of its mystique during the Cold War when it opened in 1967. Its 25-ton blast doors are embedded within the 1,700 feet of granite.

Described as the most secure place on the planet, not even NORAD compares to the protection provided by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. Psalm 25:6-7  New International Version

The Psalmist addresses God as Yahweh, His covenant name. This is not someone calling on God in a general sense or guessing at who might be God. He is using the name given to Moses by God. The Lord Himself says that the Israelites are to address him this way.

The Psalmist refers to the Lord protecting him from the false words and accusations of his enemies. No matter who opposes us including Satan, the Lord shields those who are faithful to Him.

What is our role in the Lord’s blessing and protection? We are not passive participants. We should admit they we cannot thrive by our own strength or wisdom. We seek shelter in the Lord. There is no place for arrogance. Christians humbly seek God and praise His holy name.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6 New International Version

Prayer: (Based on Psalm 91)

Father,

May we dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in your shadow. You are our refuge and fortress. We trust in You and seek protection under Your mighty wings. In the holy name of Jesus we pray, amen.

Pastor Nathan

Nate’s Notes: National Day of Prayer

Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. In 1988, the law was unanimously amended by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Thursday, May 5, 1988, designating the first Thursday of May as a day of national prayer. Every president since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.

Prayer brings people together. Prayer builds bridges between opposing persons and even political parties. Prayer reminds us that we are created in God’s image and He desires for us to represent Him everywhere we go. Prayer brings UNITY. In 2018, our theme was Pray for America – UNITY, based upon Ephesians 4:3 which challenges us to mobilize unified public prayer for America, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Christians from across denominations came together in Lampasas Thursday to pray for our city, state, and nation. It is wonderful for us to gather united in prayer once a year; however, prayer is a daily privilege for the believer. We have the awesome blessing to go before the throne of God anytime. Jesus intercedes for us and the Holy Spirit lives in us always.

Today’s passage in Ephesians 4 emphasizes unity in the body of Christ. We ultimately do not follow a bishop, cardinal, council, deacon, elder, pastor, priest, or pope. Jesus is the head of the worldwide body of believers who have called upon Him as Savior and Lord. Paul reminds us to be completely humble and gentle. Jesus is perfect and always right but we are not. We are to listen actively to others, pay attention to our critics, and learn from other Christians from throughout history and around the world.

Paul instructed us to be patient and loving. Patience is not a virtue in the United States today. People want to promote quickly at work, watch television and movies at anytime, eat at fast food restaurants, expect to get great abs in seven minutes a day, find their future mate at the click of a button, and get almost any product in the mail in two days. We can even find a mammoth amount of information with a quick search on Google.

On the other hand, God matures us over years. Love takes time. Lust is about getting what we want now without investing in a relationship. Greed is about getting rich quickly and without ethics. Love is about looking past the faults of others and putting their needs first.

Colossians 3:12-14 NIV  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Gentleness, humility, patience, and love promote unity. If we follow the Beatitudes and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit we will be unified. We are all ambassadors for Christ. We are all citizens of Heaven. We are all witnesses to the world. We all worship the same God in a multitude of languages and with an array of musical instruments. We are one in the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.

Prayer for Unity
by Carl K. Moeddel

One only Holy Spirit of Father and Son in whom all are baptized, one giver of many gifts, one tree of many fruits, one speaker of every tongue, renew in our day the wonders of Pentecost, grant that people of every race and nation may understand one another, and as one, proclaim the praises of God.

Grant that all may be one as you, Spirit, with the Father and the Son are one God, one Lord. Grant unity to the Body of Christ. Amen.2

Pastor Nathan