Between the Words ... Pastor Jim’s Perspectives on the Weekend Behind and the Week Yet to Come (October 28, 2019)

By Jim Garrett

October 28, 2019

‘Staying’ With The Lord

Psalm 55: 22- ”Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. “

There was an incident that occurred at a Martial Arts tournament several years ago. An instructor assigned one of his lower belt students the task of filming what promised to be one of the best matches of the evening. This young student was given permission to move anywhere around the ring with his video camera in hand as long as he did not enter the area of competition.

As the match began, it soon became everything everyone anticipated that it would be. It was solid action from beginning to end. In fact, within the first few seconds of the match, the two competitors were solid mass in motion, headed directly towards our young cameraman. BOOM! They mowed him over as they fell out of the ring area. The competitors got back up, regained their composure, and their places; and so did the cameraman.

Again and again, the furious blur of feet and hands would bully its way out of the ring, and BANG … find its way back to the young cameraman. Many were surely thinking, “When is that cameraman going to get a clue and move out of there?” Well, he was trying his best to follow the orders of his instructor, “Film that fight!” Eventually, he did decide that it might be best to move much farther away and use the zoom feature of his camera.

We can all recall incidents in our own lives where we decided to stand our ground for a principle. Sometimes this insistence on success just prolonged an inevitable failure. Today’s scripture lesson gives us some advice for tapping into God’s staying power. 1 Peter 5:5-11 offers further advice in situations where the strength of the Lord is a must — specifically verses 5b-7: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. “

Just like the young martial artist with the video camera who was following orders, we stand ready in our Christian walk to follow the order of our Life Manager, Jesus Christ. And like the young videographer, our orders seem almost impossible: Matthew 28:19-20 tells us, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Our present assignment as Christian soldiers may, to the uninitiated, seem just as daunting as the one assigned to the young cameraman. God wants us to tell as many people as possible about the Gospel or “Good-News” concerning His grace and salvation through Jesus Christ. He wants us to preach the Gospel — not just by our words but also by our actions. He has called us to be holy and righteous — not through our own strength, but by His power and wisdom. Herein lies the critical difference between that young martial artist/cameraman and us. God is telling us to follow these marching orders and to stand firm — trusting in His grace and strength. You see, He is standing right there with us! He promises that even though our problems may seem too large for us, and temptation too strong, He will lift us up and restore us, because after all, it is Him working through us!

Psalm 55:22 was written by King David after he was betrayed by someone he considered to be a close friend. His feelings of pain, rejection, and abandonment were soothed by the knowledge of God’s always-present Spirit, which He promises will never leave us or reject us. 1 Peter 5:5-11 was written by the Apostle Peter, who had denied the Lord three times before His crucifixion. However, he later became a mighty Leader of the early Church through the strength and wisdom provided by the Holy Spirit. He stood firm through seemingly impossible difficulties — even until death.

Friends, we too must stand firm. Our orders are quite explicit: we are to move forward, always standing our ground, and never giving an inch of territory to the enemy. Retreat is out of the question. We are well-equipped to follow this order, and we have been given the best training manual ever written, God’s Holy Word, the Bible. But wait! There is still more; you see help is only a cry away! You are not in this alone. God has also equipped an army of believers to stand by you in prayer and service.

Lord, protect me from self-serving pride and fear. Lead me away from the many temptations of life that are intended to take me off the course you have set! Grant me your strength and wisdom to resist the attacks from within and outside of my heart, and keep my eyes always on the cross.

In Jesus Name AMEN!

On Another Note:

This past week, Cheri and I had the privilege of watching three of our grandchildren, Crystal and David’s kids, while their parents were in Paris, France. It is such a delight in being with your off-spring and seeing/knowing they are truly growing in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Thank you, Lord, for this precious gift.

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