Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Pray, Plan, Proceed

October 3, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 9/29/13.

Introduction:  This message comes from the life of King David.  He was considered a great man of God, but he still had his share of problems.  One of the biggest problems that he faced was a rebellion against his leadership led by his own son, Absalom.

Absalom had spent years currying the favor of the nation.  When the time was right, he gathered his supporters together in an attempt to take over the kingdom.  David did not want to fight this battle at Jerusalem so he and his men planned to leave the city to Absalom.  That is where we pick up the story.

I.  Prayer: II Samuel 15:31-37

  Then someone told David, saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!”

32 Now it happened when David had come to the top of the mountain, where he worshiped God—there was Hushai the Archite coming to meet him with his robe torn and dust on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, then you will become a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city, and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I was your father’s servant previously, so I will now also be your servant,’ then you may defeat the counsel of Ahithophel for me. 35 And do you not have Zadok and Abiathar the priests with you there? Therefore it will be that whatever you hear from the king’s house, you shall tell to Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Indeed they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz, Zadok’s son, and Jonathan, Abiathar’s son; and by them you shall send me everything you hear.”

37 So Hushai, David’s friend, went into the city. And Absalom came into Jerusalem.

Ahithophel was a wise counselor.  When David heard that Ahithophel was with Absalom his first response was to pray that God would turn his counsel into foolishness.  After prayer, David came up with a desperate plan.  His friend and counselor, Hushai, would remain behind, pretend to defect, and act as a spy for David.

II.  Confrontation:  II Samuel 16:15-19

Meanwhile Absalom and all the people, the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem; and Ahithophel was with him. 16 And so it was, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, that Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17 So Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?”

18 And Hushai said to Absalom, “No, but whom the Lord and this people and all the men of Israel choose, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 Furthermore, whom should I serve? Should I not serve in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so will I be in your presence.”

When Absalom came into the city, Hushai went to see him.  This was a very dangerous part of the plan because Absalom did not have to believe the story.  Hushai could have been arrested, or killed on the spot.  However, God blessed the plan, and it succeeded.  Absalom believed the story.

III.  Counsel:  II Samuel 17:5-14

Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he says too.” And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him, saying, “Ahithophel has spoken in this manner. Shall we do as he says? If not, speak up.”

So Hushai said to Absalom: “The advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time. For,” said Hushai, “you know your father and his men, that they are mighty men, and they are enraged in their minds, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field; and your father is a man of war, and will not camp with the people. Surely by now he is hidden in some pit, or in some other place. And it will be, when some of them are overthrown at the first, that whoever hears it will say, ‘There is a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.’ 10 And even he who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will melt completely. For all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and those who are with him are valiant men. 11 Therefore I advise that all Israel be fully gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, like the sand that is by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person. 12 So we will come upon him in some place where he may be found, and we will fall on him as the dew falls on the ground. And of him and all the men who are with him there shall not be left so much as one. 13 Moreover, if he has withdrawn into a city, then all Israel shall bring ropes to that city; and we will pull it into the river, until there is not one small stone found there.”

14 So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom.

Ahithophel had advised Absalom to send men immediately in pursuit of the king.  He believed that the men were probably tired, and disorganized, that they would flee if attacked, and the king could be killed.  It was sound advice.

Hushai also recognized the wisdom of the advice, but he presented a different course of action.  He played on Absalom’s respect for his father and his mighty men.  Absalom had grown up hearing of the exploits of these men and Hushai played on that knowledge to present a different plan.  This plan sounded good, but it would allow David and his men an opportunity to get away and get organized.

Absalom followed the advice of Hushai and it led to his demise.

When we are faced with a problem.  The first response should be to pray.  God can then give us a plan that we should proceed to follow.  If God is with us, who can be against us?  If God directs our steps, we surely shall succeed.

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Thanks for Today

June 2, 2011

Thanksgiving should not be just one day a year.  Each and every day we have a multitude of things for which we should be thankful.  If we have sufficient food to eat, a place to sleep, clothes to wear; if we have friends in our life, family who care for us, a meaningful way to spend our time: if we are still able to appreciate beauty of sound, vision, or action; there are so many things for which to be thankful.

Most of all, as Christians we have the presence of God in our life.  We have an opportunity to live in a relationship with the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the creator of the universe.

He loves us.

What more do we need?

We do have problems, challenges that we face day by day in this life.  They may be financial, or health related,  they may be work or relationship orientated, there are many complications in life.  We do not face these challenges alone, God is with us.  He will give us wisdom to know what to do, strength to do what we must,  and He will be with us at all times.

We can give thanks for today, and we can trust God for tomorrow.

Inform or Inflame?

August 24, 2010

A partial truth can be more damaging than an outright lie.  I have had conversations with people who had a small piece of the truth, but that piece had been taken out of context, or misapplied for the express purpose of provoking an emotional response.  Emotions can be powerful motivators to get a response, but it might not be the right response.

It would be best if we responded with both reason and emotion.   In fact, perhaps we should take a lesson from Mr. Spock, and allow reason to guide our decisions, free from the entanglement of emotion.  Once a decision is reached, then our emotions can come on board.

Be careful of the sources of information.  They may be telling the truth, but is it the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?  Or are portions of truth being used to manipulate a response that is desired for reasons unknown to the recipient?   We are responsible for our actions, and we should be careful of the informational sources that guide our decisions.

Our President’s Choices and Values

June 1, 2010

President Obama was associated for many years with a church in Illinois whose pastor has been recorded denouncing America.

Since moving to Washington, the president has decided not to attend church services, citing difficulties for secret service protection details.

This spring he decided that the White House would not formally participate in the National Day of Prayer, for the first time in years.

Yesterday, he chose to send the Vice President to Arlington National cemetary for the Memorial Day services, instead of going himself.  He was scheduled to appear in Illinois, but the event was rained out.

I suppose that I would rather have him openly aloof to religious observances as opposed to pretending it is important to him.

I concede that his choice to delegate the traditional Memorial Day appearance to the vice president does not make him unpatriotic.

These things do not destroy his ability to govern.

They do make me uneasy, and I don’t like it.

A Shield About Me

March 30, 2010

On Sunday morning in the second service we were singing the old song based on Psalms 3:3, “A Shield About Me”.  My wife, who was leading worship felt impressed to linger for a while on this song, which was the last in our list.  It contained both a statement of faith, and the response of worship.

I later preached on the triumphal entry, it was Palm Sunday after all, but I included the prophetic word that Jesus spoke over Jerusalem, and the episode of Jesus driving the merchants, and money changers out of the temple.  I refered to judgement against the city, and in the temple.  I connected these to a warning that judgement could come against our country, and even against Christianity.  Would anyone deny the presence of sin in our land, or in the church that calls itself Christian?

However, the good news is; for those who are trusting in the Lord, for those who are faithful and obedient, God will be a shield about them.

Car Trouble

January 6, 2010

I drive old vehicles.

I don’t mean classic, restored, or vintage…just old, with pretty high mileage.  Our van is a 1995 with 173,000 miles.  I hope to get at least another 50,000. 

This past weekend, I was returning from dropping off the deer at the processors when I lost power steering, and an assortment of lights came on, on the dash.  The van was still running so I pulled off to the shoulder and called a friend who is far more mechanically inclined than I, and he suspected that I had broken my serpentine belt.  It was very cold outside and I was not far from home so I prayed, and drove home and into the garage. 

I was supposed bring my son and his fiance back to Minnesota the next day.  A couple of men from my church offered to repair the van during the second service so that we could still leave on schedule.

It turned out that the water pump had also failed, but they were able to make the repairs and we were on our way on schedule.

About an hour into the journey we stopped for gas…and the van would not start.   This time, the starter was the problem.  We called AAA to get the van, and a friend to come get us, and we went back home.  A local shop replaced the starter and we were back on the road before noon.  This time the trip was without mishap.

I drive old cars.  I anticipate problems by having a AAA membership, and by having money set aside in the budget for repairs.  Even more important, I trust that God will watch over us.   Christian friends helped in time of need, and when problems occurred, we either made it home, or had a warm place to wait. 

Even in times of trouble, God is good.

Merry Christmas Mr. President

December 23, 2009

It looks like the Senate is going to pass a bill on health care reform just in time for Christmas.  It has been referred to as a Christmas present for the president, since he has made it the centerpiece of his domestic agenda.  It will still have to be reconciled with the House bill which will not be easy since there are substantial differences, none-the-less, it looks like Merry Christmas Mr. President, here’s your health care bill.

Actually, the bill will be coming later.  It is like the person who spends too much at Christmas, and then regrets it when the charge card bills come due.  Will we regret this holiday purchase?  Can it be returned if we don’t like it?

This is not change that I believe in.  However, unlike Rush Limbaugh, I hope that I am wrong.  I hope that the president is right, and that this is a great thing for our country.  I hope that it provides coverage, while lowering the deficit, just like they say that it will. 

I am also glad that, ultimately,  I put my trust in Jesus, not in the U.S. government for my future.

Adjust

October 26, 2009

As a pastor, I am paid after the last Sunday of the month.  We made this arrangement years ago, when I was working a full-time job outside of the church.  The church set my salary at what they would like to pay me, and then paid me at the end of the month, after the bills were paid.   If there was money available. 

 It was my idea.  I was, and am, willing to trust God to provide for us.

 Sometimes I got a full check, and many times I did not.  Over the years, the church has become financially more stable.  I went to working a part time job.  (My wife also works outside of the church.)  The months that I did not receive a full check became less and less.  Now it is a rarity, but it still occurs occasionally.  ( Twice this year, so far. )

I practice what I preach. 

When the income drops, I adjust the family budget for the month.  Need versus want,  is applied as the budget must be adjusted.  Hard decisions about where the money will be used must be made if our monthly budget is to balance.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with a wife who is willing to live within a budget, and who volunteers ways to reduce our spending, that affects her personally.

God provides enough for us, even as I blogged earlier in a post titled “Enough”.  Not only do I practice what I preach; I believe what I preach.  Our church income this month was significantly reduced.  We will adjust.  It will not be without sacrifice, but  it will be enough.

In God We Trust

August 4, 2009

I am thankful that my faith allows me to face the future without anxiety.  I do not often worry about what might happen.

I trust in God.

That being said, I do try to make good decisions.  I try to look ahead and plan for the future.  I try to make good use of my resources.   In fact, my wife sometimes complains about THE PLAN.  Or perhaps, more accurately, the way that I react when things don’t go according to my plans.

The really, really good thing is that I don’t have to understand everything.  I don’t have to have everything planned out.  Life does not have to go according to my plan.

God has already done that.  God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. He knows exactly what is going to happen and He has promised us that He will be with us always.

As our country is making some big decisions about the future.  I believe that we should do our part, that we should address problems, make plans, take action…. and trust that God will help us.

God is Already There

December 31, 2008

Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there!

An individual that I know about, whose husband has been through a lot of medical problems, often ends her email updates with that statement.

It is a good statement.

As we finish 2008, which had it’s share of problems;  and look forward to 2009, which is filled with uncertainty;  we can be reminded that God knows what is going to happen.  There are no surprises.  There is nothing that is overwhelming to God.  He is not worried about the future.

Neither am I.