Monday, September 24, 2018

Overcoming the Pit

When I read Psalm 40 I am reminded of those times when I get stuck in the pits of living.  Pits can happen lots of ways.  I can fall into a pit of bad choices.  I can be pushed into the pit by other people who wish me ill.  I can fall into the pit because of the infirmity that comes from living in a fallen world.  Satan can entice me into the pit.  There are lots of pits and lots of dangers in living life.  The old song "A Mighty Fortress" reminds us that the world is filled with devils.  So ... what to do?

I can think of three quick responses.  The Psalmist in Psalm 40 says one thing right off the bat ... "I waited patiently for the Lord (Ps. 40:1)."  My nature is to fix things.  I am not stellar at the patience thing and I try to be a "doer" when I should be patient and watch for what God is doing.  David said to wait with patience 'for the Lord.'  Not for a quick fix.  Not for a popular or trendy solution.  Not for my best thinking or my wits to figure out my situation.  For the LORD!  God's solution and plan is always the best for me.  Step 1 in Celebrate Recovery is "we admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors and that our lives had become unmanageable."  I am not the solution to getting out of the pit!

The second response is to realize who is the solution.  I know I cannot solve these problems and issues.  I am not the solution to getting out of the pit.  But God is!  "He lifted me out of the pit and set my feet on solid ground (Ps. 40:2)." Step 3 (CR) is "I made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God."  When each of us became a Christian we should have prayed a prayer.  If we didn't we should revisit our faith and pray that prayer now.  "Jesus ... come into my heart and my life.  I know I am a sinner and I believe with my heart that Jesus, God's Son, is my source of forgiveness and salvation.  Jesus ... take my life and make it what you want.  Take my will and mold it to yours.  Take my heart and change it to your perfect plan.  Send your Spirit to counsel and guide me to your place."

Now for the third thing!  We appropriate and apply what we have realized and confessed.  Yes we are not the solution.  Yes Jesus IS the solution.  But now comes the work of applying the things we have learned.  God has lifted us out of the pit.  Now we must walk (with God's help) into the life He will make for us.  "He has given us a new song to sing.  Many will see what He has done and be amazed (Ps. 40:3)."  God's presence in out life is manifested in fruit and power that molds our everyday life and changes lots of things.

In Kentucky I met a man who had been in the church for all of his life.  He was a 70+ year-old Kentucky basketball fan and the SPRC Chair of the little church I served.  He went to ALL of the home games and many of the away games.  He was rabid for the Kentucky Wildcats!  One day he came to me after I preached about priorities.  He said, "I have been placing basketball in the wrong place on my priority list.  I give money, time and energy to basketball that belongs to God.  I will never again let a basketball game get in the way of my church and my relationship with Jesus."  Two years later I preached his funeral and got to tell this story of being changed by God.  He had been singing a new song praising the Lord and many heard his story and were amazed at the change.  And I believe God smiled and said, "Well done my good and faithful servant."  Randy

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