A Midweek Thought and Prayer

A few days back I came across an incident in the life of Asa, one of the kings of Judah, which reminded me, once again that, as David once said, 

“the battle is the Lord’s.” 

You can read the account in 2 Chronicles 14. What particularly impressed me, is the humility and utter dependence upon the Lord which Asa expressed in the midst of a truly overwhelming situation (Zerah the Ethiopian, with his 1,000,000 soldiers and 300 chariots, had come against Judah): 


 “And Asa cried to the Lord his God, ‘O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.'” (2 Chronicles 14:11)


We are living in troubling times in a troubled world, to say the least. And quite frankly the odds would seem to be against those who would hold to God’s truth, seeking to walk in His ways. But no matter, because we can rest assured that God is not distraught about the odds. 

“What odds, when You, our God, are the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe?” (Colossians 1:16-17)


May you be encouraged in remembering, as Asa rightly exclaimed “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the might and the weak!” He is our strength, even in the midst of our weakness – no matter what we are facing. Our Lord longs to show His strength in our weakness:


And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Whenever, wherever, and for in whatever you find yourself that may seem overwhelming to you, know with absolute certainty, it is not overwhelming for God – for “there is none like Him!”


Blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior!

Pastor Ryne

“I Trust In You, O Lord”

David begins Psalm 31 with the confession, “In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be ashamed,” followed  by the petition, “In Your righteousness deliver me. Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold to save me.” 
In the verses that follow, he extols God’s power, protection, provision, and preservation, in the midst of living in a world of people who live at enmity with God and at enmity with those who belong to Him. 
Today, may you find in God’s inspired words through David, much encouragement and hope for that which you are facing at this moment in your life. 
Great is His goodness which He has stored up for You who fear Him…He will hide you in the secret place of His presence…He will keep you!


For an encouraging reminder in song of God’s faithfulness, see https://youtu.be/B6fA35Ved-Y


He is faithful! 

Love & prayers,


Pastor Ryne

God’s Faithfulness (A Year-End Reminder)

This morning, thumbing through Jerry Bridges’ book, Is God Really in Control, I was reminded of God’s absolute faithfulness. Bridges writes:
     “We may sometimes lose the sense of God’s presence and help but never lose them. Job, in his distress, could not find God. He said:         


“But if I go to the east, he is not there;
              if I go to the west, I do not find him.
          When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
              when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
          But he knows the way that I take;
              when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”


Job apparently wavered, as we do, between trust and doubt. Here we see a strong affirmation of trust. He couldn’t find God anywhere. God had completely withdrawn from Job the comforting sense of His presence. But Job believed, though he couldn’t see Him, that God was watching over him and would bring him through that trial as purified gold. “You and I will sometimes have the same experience as Job–perhaps not in the same kind or intensity of sufferings–but in the seeming inability to find God anywhere. Even the prophet Isaiah said to God on one occasion, ‘Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God and Savior of Israel’ (Isaiah 45:15). In times of our distress, we must cling to God’s bare but inviolate promise, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [Hebrews 13:5].     Bridges continues, “We are invited in the words of Peter to ‘cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7). God cares for you! Not only will He never leave you–that’s the negative side of the promise–but He cares for you. His care is constant–not occasional or sporadic. His care is total–even the very hairs of your head are numbered. His care is sovereign–nothing can touch you that He does not allow. The casting of our anxieties on Him is again a matter of choice. We must by an act of the will in dependence on the Holy Spirit say something such as, ‘Lord, I choose to cast off this anxiety onto You, but I cannot do this of myself. I will trust You by Your Spirit to enable me, having cast my anxiety on You, not to take it back upon myself.’ Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelm us.” [Jerry Bridges, Is God Really in Control: Trusting God in a World of Hurt, pp 128-129]


Isaiah understood, for he exclaimed in 40:31:


Those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  


Teach us Lord, to trust & wait!

Blessings in Christ!

Pastor Ryne

Christmas – Wonder of Wonders!

WONDER – “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”

Example: “He had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child.”

Synonyms:“awe, admiration, wonderment, fascination; surprise, astonishment, stupefaction, amazement”

Illustration: “She was speechless with wonder.”
“Wonder of Wonders!” – I can think of no better phrase to describe the events surrounding that day when Christ was born…when, in “the fullness of the time… God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). 


If you can, take a few minutes and read the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel and you’ll see what I mean. “A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable,” – it’s all there, displayed in the actions and reactions of the characters in the biblical account. Ponder the reality that took place on that first Christmas morning, when, “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14), and it really can leave you, “speechless with wonder.” 
This Christmas Day & Season, may you experience anew The Wonder of Christ,” with the “wonder of a child,” at the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy on that first Christmas morning:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) 

Wonder of Wonders, indeed! 

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Ryne

Hold On!

endurance:

  1. the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially: the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity 
  2. the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. 

A word of encouragement from the author of Hebrews, to help you to endure:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (4:14-16)

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 

For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay. 
But My righteous one shall live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.(10.35-39)

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.May you confidently rest assured that “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you!” (1 Peter 5:10). 
Richest Blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord, for by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption…” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 1:6).

Pastor Ryne

His “Will” Will Do

This past Sunday, in The Fundamentals of the Faith class, someone cited Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). In that verse Paul reminds us that our mortal bodies with all their limitations will one day give way to the complete redemption that is ours as God’s adopted sons and daughters (cp. Rom 8:23). As he puts it in 1 Corinthians 15:53, “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality!” “Must,” I like that…no stopping it, for God has declared it for all who have placed their trust in His Son for their salvation.  
I long for that reality- for faith to be sight! In the meantime, however, as I seek to follow Christ, there are times when I feel acutely the angst expressed by Paul in Romans 7:18, “the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” 
Earlier this week, I found myself pondering the desire I expressed in my last email – the longing “To love God with all my heart and soul and mind!” And I questioned, “How do I get from here to there?”  John 15:5, came in response, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”  Then came Paul’s reminder from Romans 8:9, “you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” As one who has been born of the Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, the very Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ is living in me. Or, as Paul puts it in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
If Christ lives in me, I have everything I need to, “love God with all my heart and soul and mind.” How can I say that? Because with the very Spirit of Christ living in me, I am given the privilege of thinking as He thought and living as He lived.  How did He think? how did He live?  “I have come down from heaven,” he said in John 6:38, “not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Or, as He declared in John 8:39,“He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

So here is the syllogism I am taking to heart, and I would encourage you to do also if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ God’s Son:

Proposition 1: I have the Spirit of Jesus Christ

Proposition 2: Jesus lived then and lives now, “always doing the things that are pleasing to God!”

Conclusion: As I walk in His Spirit, I too can and will do that which is pleasing to God!
In short, you and I can “love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind,” because we can do all things through Him who strengthens us! (Philippians 4:13). What a privilege, to live in such a relationship with the God of all creation, our Great Redeemer!
“So then, my beloved,” urges Paul, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” 

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21) 

Praying for you!

Pastor Ryne