Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sermon #1

We had a really great sermon at our church a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I'd like to share it with you, because it taught/reminded me of quite a bit, and I think it's a good thing to share at the start of a new year.

The reading for the day was Proverbs 3:1-15, which I've reproduced here:

1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: 4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. 14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

After we had the reading, the pastor began by using the illustration of Blondin, who used to cross the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The story is told (no factual basis) of a young boy who is standing in the crowd watching Blondin crossing the Falls pushing a wheelbarrow in front of him. Blondin gets to the side, and then asks if there is anyone willing to get into the wheelbarrow and be pushed across. The little boy gets in, and is pushed to the other side. The question is, would you get into the wheelbarrow? Do you trust enough?

Then we focussed in on verses 5 and 6, going through it phrase by phrase to get the points that it gets across.

1. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; - this was dealt with regarding the wheelbarrow. We need to trust God with ALL of our hearts.

Here we read from Ephesians 3:20:

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us

This is a reminder that God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine - but we need to allow Him to work in our lives. We need to choose to allow Him into our lives and to work in and through us.

2. and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Here we were reminded that, in NOT leaning on our own understanding, the indication is NOT that we are to bury our heads in the sand. Our understanding of events around us is required, but when our understanding has been formulated, we mustn't LEAN on it, rely on it, because we never have the full picture. Therefore we need to trust God, and effectively ask Him 'What do You think?' Sometimes our understanding is wrong.

Then we were told about an essay that is purported to have been written by an 8-year-old. You can access it here: The website that I have used is one that determines what is or isn't fact or fiction on the internet, so is a useful tool for anyone. But it does reproduce the essay, which is interesting reading, although not ENTIRELY accurate.

3. In all thy ways acknowledge him,

The indication here is to share everything with God - as one would in a deep relationship. God does need to be Lord on His terms, and this does include turning our lives upside down - but the proviso is that He will NOT do anything unless we choose to allow Him to. But He cannot truly work in our lives if there are areas that we keep closed off to Him. He needs to be allowed access to all areas.

3. and he shall direct thy paths.

The indication here is that God promises to make our paths smooth and straight. We should therefore look into the new year positively, and go into tomorrow in faith. The pastor then told us this poem:

The Will of God

The Will of God will never take you
Where the Grace of God cannot keep you
Where the Arms of God cannot support you
Where the Riches of God cannot support your needs
Where the Power of God cannot endow you.

The Will of God will never take you
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you
Where the Wisdom of God cannot teach you
Where the Army of God cannot protect you
Where the Hands of God cannot mold you.

The Will of God will never take you
Where the Love of God cannot enfold you
Where the Mercies of God cannot sustain you
Where the Peace of God cannot calm your fears
Where the Authority of God cannot overrule you.

The Will of God will never take you
Where the Comfort of God cannot dry your tears
Where the Word of God cannot feed you
Where the Miracles of God cannot be done for you
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

~ author unknown ~

So ... be willing to embark on a thrilling white-knuckle adventure of faith.