Sermons of Note

                                    

                                  Rev. E. Anderson 

VICTORIOUS LIVING 

Reading    Habakkuk 3 

Text         vv17-20

Introduction

Great Conviction: The climatic and conclusive words of the prophecv re­veal the truth and fact that the prophet had entered into an experience and state of victorious living. He ends up expressing this assured conviction and commitment in a glorious triumphant mood and manner. He had moved forward out of a negative spirit of question, doubt and foreboding into a positive attitude of assurance. strength and victorv. A choice line of spiritual action brought forth a lasting and worthwhile condition of being. life and outlook

Disturbed Condition: This was not always the case as the text is viewed in the immediate context of his prophesying. He commenced on the note of complaint. He had prayed to the Lord and he had not received any answer to his sincere praying – 1:2. He is somewhat distraught because the Lord appears to be taking no notice of him or his prayers and he queries the Lord on the issue of unan­swered prayer vv3, 4. It is noticeable that he does appear to be praying about the right things. The rottenness and corruption of the people greatly disturbed his spirit and the fact that divine judgement did not go forth disturbed him more. One could not say that he was in a position of spiritual victory at this point.

Divine Answer: The answer that the Lord eventually gave did not elevate his spirit, in fact it became quite shattering and bewildering w 5,6,13. The instrument that God was to use to bring divine chastisement on God’s people was more cor­rupt and worthy of punishment At the time, Habakkuk could not reconcile this factor. It created real problems and perplexity within his being. His reaction to the revelation shows that he is somewhat dumbfounded and distressed. He did not seem to possess the answer in his mind and heart as to the sense of the divine procedure.

Principle: The Lord does express to him, however, the principle on which life has to be inspired with and governed by -2:4. The dynamic principle of faith and trust is voiced by God and shown to be the essential requirement of life. It is not a case of looking at things externally and outwardly without due consideration to the great rule of faith in God. The just man takes into his thinking, reckoning and living a just God and the rightness of His word and action and is obedient to its revelation and demand no matter how seemingly inexplicable. This produces what is known as victorious living. Life is not controlled by the outward show of things but by a deep inward conviction and assurance that God rules and acts in righteousness even when things look contradictory. He can be trusted and also His word. The humble man is a just man who simply and truly trusts God and His word. The proud man thinks he knows better than God.

In this prayer of Habakkuk – ch.3, there is the revelation of the majesty and as­cendancy of God and, as a result, the prophet seems to move into what God de­sired and designed. The prophet is no longer in questioning mind and mood but asserts a complete new attitude of mind and being that is yielding powerful con­sequences. A new situation of life and lifestyle is his which is so gratifying and satisfying.

1/.  A SITUATION OF DESOLATION v17

Reviewing this verse one notes that it is terribly negative. One marks the not and the no. It is a revelation of utter barrenness and nothingness, everything to re­duce to a low state of morale and being. Considering what the language portrays, one becomes oppressed and depressed. There is nothing there whatsoever to create some feeling of pleasure and persuasion. The situation could hardly be worse. This condition of desolation reveals some fundamental lacks:

  • The lack of progress and production. What ought to have been moving forward into a state of prosperity was at a complete standstill. Everything brought to a halt. There should have been a going and growing but instead the opposite is in evidence. The fig tree was made for blossoming and figs, the vine for grapes, the olive tree for olives etc. But there is no movement or hope of some good. Everything precious and glorious ought to have been seen and present, but instead, the scene is one of utter barrenness. There are no tokens at all naturally and outwardly speaking which should give grounds for delight. There is always room for praise and thanksgiving when everything and everyone is finding fulfilment and maximum expression, but when things are static, how different.

Illustration:Job had every reason to worship God when everything natural was going well for him. See Satan’s assumption – 1:10.

  • The lack of promise and prospect. In viewing this condition of bleakness and blackness one would have reason to believe there was nothing to live for because there were no cause for optimism for tomorrow. Because all looked helpless all was hopeless. There was nothing of assurance or guarantee that things would improve and get better. It was a sight to effect utter despair and a melancholic state. To try and produce some optimism would be difficult. Everything has gone dead and a curse appears to be on all. Today is gloomy but the tomorrows are worse still and such is difficult to handle. When the fu­ture does not look rosy and inviting there appears to be no cause for worship.

Illustration:     Jacob was similarly placed – Gen.42:36.

  • The lack of perception. The prophet does not claim to have an answer in himself with regard to this tragic state of affairs. The picture that he confronts has no logical, rational answer or explanation. It gives no understanding or solution only perplexity of thought. The fig tree should blossom and produce fruit but why not? Question and query are the certain consequence. This ut­ter negative condition defies explanation I It may well be that there is no seeming comprehension on the issue but Habakkuk makes no attempt to solve it. The why of barrenness delusive and elusive but he will take up a spiritual stance of faith and trust.

2/. THE SPIRIT OF DETERMINATION v18

In these negative surroundings he takes up a very positive attitude. He can say, ‘Although’ in vi 7 he does come in with an affirmation of conviction, ‘Yet’ in vi 8. He is not overwhelmed by what he beholds in vision on the natural front: his spiritual state is in a much healthier and greater condition. Instead of being over-ridden by the awful set of circumstances, he rides them. There is a divine determination abroad within his spirit and he rises to a new mood and movement of being, belief and behaviour. A resolve of faith comes in and oper­ates.

  • Because he has Someone in whom he can rejoice – “in the Lord . . .in the God.” He moves into a new and different realm altogether. He sees be­yond the vision of desolation because he possesses and knows the revelation of the Sovereign Lord before his mind and heart. Though he cannot rejoice in it, he can and will rejoice in Him. He sees where he is placed spiritually and sees that this place is the controlling and dictating factor. The will to rejoice arises not out of self-effort or endeavour but from a discovery of the place and position the Lord holds in all things. He can and will rejoice in the Lord be­cause He is the Lord These things and conditions are not the master be­cause they come under His Lordship.

Illustration :   Job had things in right perspective in the moment of his calamity -1:21.

The position of the Christian believer is that he/she is now in Christ the Lord. In this relationship he must have a sight of Him above everyone and everything else, beyond all any outward and natural condition. The Lord stands supreme above all factors whether good or bad and He must be delighted in – Phil. 4:4. In Him there is a knowing of a spiritual will that results in victorious living and prais­ing. The Lord Himself is the creation and cause of joy and gladness – Psalm 43:4.

  • Because he has a sense about the something about the Someone in which to rejoice – He is the God ‘of salvation.’ His Lord is the Lord God of salvation and He has quite a history in regard to such. He possesses the ability to deal with this scene of desolation. The reason why he will worship and praise the Lord is due to the fact that He is the only one capable of mov­ing into a scene of this nature and to change it miraculously. The salvation of the situation is not in himself or others, or in the things that confront his gaze, he focuses in on the Lord. Everyone and everything may fail, but not Him. He is the only grounds for trust and praise. See Lamentations31-26. Amp.V. “I will exult in the (victorious) God of my salvation.” See Romans 8: 37.

3/. THE STRENGTH OF DOMINATION v19

Because of the positive spiritual re-action to the untoward conditions that exist there is the knowing of something of a divine order and character. Habakkuk now moves into something that he had never touched or experienced before and changes the whole course of his life and ministry. The domination is reflected in a number of ways.

  • He is dominated by divine strength. The things that were intended to weaken him and drive him to a state of distraction have led him to know and enjoy the blessing of God’s might and energy. He is not flat with depression and pessimism but full and inspired with divine compression and optimism. A new and glorious life-dynamic is open to him and he senses that full flow within him. Victorious living proceeds from this input. God had designed it this way that His servants should live off His power and ability – Ps.92:1O. In the inspiration of His Spirit and Word He provides the means by which His own can be reinforced and made absolutely strong and invincible – Haggai 2:4,5.

Illustration:    Ezekiel = God will strengthen.

  • He is dominated by sureness and speed GNB “He makes me sure-footed as a deer”; Liv. B. “He will give me the speed of the deer.” Stability and alacrity will     become characteristic of the victorious life. It will be movement that will be steadfast and versatile.

Hannah Hunnard: “From the mission house at the foot of mount Gerizim she could watch the gazelles bounding up the mountain side, leaping from rock to rock with extraordinary grace and agility. A beautiful example of exultant and ap­parently effortless ease in surmounting obstacles seen.”

The deer: its back feet always land where its front feet have been.

  • He is dominated by divine success. There is a living in the high and heavenly regions. A dictating of the upper areas and a placing and putting everything un­der one’s feet. NIV “He enables me to go on the heights.” The fear of the heights have been taken away and there is the ability to cope with life with all of its ob­stacles, oppositions, troubles, trials, responsibilities etc. There is the knowledge that one is being divinely kept on the mountainous ranges and peaks – GNB “and keeps me safe on the mountains.” 

CONCLUSION

  • God’s will is that His servants and people should be the recipient of divine feet and strength so that life and work can be fully and greatly negotiated.
  • The experience evidently was not the prophet’s alone – see David – Ps.18: 33.  It is to be the experience of those who move into a real experi­ence of faith in God and into true spiritual worship.                 

                                                              

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Prayer Dynamics

                              

                              Rev. Rick Warren

NURTURING QUIET AS YOU PRAY

Jon Walker

“My heart is not proud . . . I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother. . . . O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore” – Psalm 131:1–3 (NIV)

Psalm 131 teaches us to:

  • Keep our hearts humble. A humble heart means we know our position in Christ, and so we stop being responsible for the things of which we were never responsible. This frees us to live like God intended and allows us to make uncluttered choices that will move us closer to God.

It is the nursing child who demands attention now, but the weaned child trusts and is content to wait

  • Show the maturity of a weaned child. We quietly centre ourselves on God, peacefully, without agitation and anxiety, and trust God is actively supporting us. We trust God even when the answer to our prayers seems a long way off. It’s the nursing child who demands attention now, but the weaned child trusts and is content to wait.
  • Hope in the Lord with confident expectation. God’s Word says God will answer our prayers; he will respond to our needs; he will pave the path before us now and forever – Psalm 18:36.

                              

Just a Thought

                                  

                                Rev. A. Linford

EXPERTS ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT

”Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me” Acts 27:21

Paul, travelling as prisoner toRome had a premonition, inspired by the Holy Spirit that a storm would wreck Sailing was dangerous at that season, but the journey was urgent and delay costly. Paul gave advice not to leave theharbourofFair Havens, incommodious though it was. But the centurion-in-charge consulted the captain – after all, he was the expert – and turned down the admonition of the apostle. Paul was right: the ship was eventually wrecked on the rocks of Malta- the expert was wrong.

We often benefit from expert advice, but the best of men can make mistakes; and when it comes to REVELATION versus REASON, we know what course must win.

Paul, caught up in catastrophe, did not complain, he prayed, and by faith secured the lives of passengers and crew. But he did remind them of his rejected advice, while at the same time assuring them that his prayer for their deliverance was answered. Reason wrecked them: revelation saved them.

And so it sometimes is. When Caruso’s mother took her promising son for an audition to a celebrated music-master, he said that the youth would never make a singer. “His voice sounds like wind in the shutters”, he observed. How wrong was he! Caruso became the greatest tenor thatItalyever produced. So don’t lose hope if the experts say it can’t be done. If God has spoken to you His revelation is greater than mans’ reason. Go on!

                             

Healing Testimonies

                                          

                            Mrs. Margaret Stephen

HEALED AFTER THREE OPERATIONS

I do thank and praise God for the way He has led and guided me. When my cross was, oh so , He bore the heavy end. I look back on the eighteen long years of pain and suffering when I oftentimes used, to say, ‘Is there a God ?’

I went through three operations; at one I had four and a half inches taken out of the left leg.  I was a cripple all these years and I felt life was not worth living and used to say often I wish I were dead. One day while in the infirmary after being taken in unconscious, when I came to myself 1 heard a voice speak to me these words: ‘When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless , oh abide with me’. All through that day they rang in my ears, and I knew God was speaking to me through these words. I came back to the Lord, and then I got better and came on toGlasgowto live. My health was not bad, though I still suffered pain and knew that some day sooner or later 1 had to face another operation.

On 5th December, 1926, I had to go to hospital to undergo an operation for hernia tumour. After going through all preparations for the operation I asked the doctor to sound my chest, and he found he could not administer chloroform under the condition of heart and chest, so they advised me to go home and again at the end of March or April.

But, praise God, I did not need to go back. My husband read in the papers about Principal George Jeffreys great Divine healing services in the St, Mungo Hall. So we decided go after seeing people being healed with various troubles. I said, ‘II God can heal these people He can surely; heal me. So I went to be prayed for and anointed in the name of the Lord and I felt there was no one in that hall but God and myself. Though there hundreds, I lost sight of everyone but Jesus. I went next Sunday by for prayer and anointed again. I felt the power of God on me and I felt something giving way, but the trouble was still there. Ten days after the first anointing I was standing in the audience singing when the power on God came on me and took me to the floor I lay there for come time alone with, my blessed Lord who worked the operation on me. That was on 17th February 1927. Three weeks later I was examined by the doctor, who found no price of the trouble.

I do thank and praise God for His wonderful, wonder-working power. To Him be the glory, for I never will cease to praise Him, for He has done so much for me.

                              

Great Stories

                                      

                               Rev. E. Anderson

“NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE APPEARANCE OF ANYONE”

ONE OF THE BEST STORIES I’VE EVER HEARD!

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath.. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.

His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’

His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.’

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he
sometimes sleeps in class.’

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she
stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets…’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favourite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favourite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on
their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.’

(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone’s life today. Tomorrow. Just ‘do it’. Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!

Believe in Angels, and then return the favour.