Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Shepastor: “You Can Make It!”

Proverbs 30:1, NIV
The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.
This man’s utterance to Ithiel:
“I am weary, God,
but I can prevail.[a]

Our focus verse for today has been attributed to an individual named Agur. We don’t have any additional information about Agur. His words presented here provide for us the only information we have about him. Agur starts out this section with a profound statement. Certainly, he is not the only Biblical writer to confess this psychological and emotional state, but he follows his initial statement with a declaration of faith… Agur says,

“I am weary, God,
but I can prevail.

Every translation of this verse does not say this.

The King James Version does not even include these words. The Contemporary English Version says it like this…

"Someone cries out to God,
“I am completely worn out!
How can I last?[a]"

The Living Bible combines verses 1-2 and declares,

2 "I am tired out, O God, and ready to die. I am too stupid even to call myself a human being!"
The New Revised Standard Version says it just like the Living Bible…
I won’t bore you with other translations. You get the picture. Of all of them, however, I was intrigued by the New International Version’s translation that has Agur declaring, in spite of his weariness that he can prevail.

Weariness is a condition that goes beyond physical exhaustion. To be weary involves more than aching joints, sweat rolling down your face, wanting to flop down on the bed and go to sleep. “Weariness” has several components. Weariness impacts the totality of a person. Weariness involves the psyche, the spirit and the body. The Hebrew writers suggest that this weariness means feeling completely spent…you’ve given all you’ve got, you are poured out like water out of a pitcher with not even one drop left to give. In other words, you are just DONE!

The man in the text says, “God, I am weary!” All of the translations agree on that. The man is weary, spent, poured out, feeling as if he can’t go one step further. But then the translators diverge. They break off from the one translator who, in spite of explaining the weariness of the man, has the man making a shocking statement… the NIV translator has the man declaring, “but, I can prevail!” The conjunction “but” suggests something to the contrary. The man is making a declaration that is contrary to the way he feels. He feels weary. He feels spent. He feels like giving up, BUT, he declares, “I CAN PREVAIL!”

The term “prevail” means,“to prove more powerful than opposing forces; be victorious.” The man is talking to the right one. He is expressing his weariness to God, but he then decides to that in spite of his weariness, that he can be the victorious over his circumstances. After spending time in the presence of the Lord, he comes to the realization that he can prevail. He realizes that he can be more powerful than the opposing forces… Whatever is making him weary, with God’s help, he can prevail!

There is much in life to make us weary…situations that keep dragging on long after they should have been over, disappointment, physical and psychological pain, poverty, loneliness, defeat, the death of dreams…the list can go on and on. Weariness is a condition of the heart, mind, body and soul. But if we like the Psalmist tell the Lord about how we feel, tell the Lord about our pain, our sorrow, our disappointment, our struggle, our trial…whatever, when we get before the Lord in sincerity of heart, something will begin to happen down on the inside.

When we turn our focus away from our weariness and instead begin to look at our GREAT and awesome and powerful God, then we like Agur will declare, I CAN PREVAIL! Whatever you are going through, know today that you can make it! As we move in faith, as we serve the Lord with gladness, as we listen and obey God’s Word and follow God’s way, our weariness will be replaced with energy. God energizes us when we make up our minds to walk with Him. God strengthens us by reminding us of His promises and revealing His beauty even in the midst of dark and trying times. God reveals Himself in unexpected ways when we make up our minds to search for Him with all of our hearts.

Yes, YOU CAN MAKE IT! God is with you, God is keeping you. God is for you! You are more than a conqueror! You can do all things through Christ that strengthens you! You are the head and not the tail! You are above and not beneath! You are a child of the King! Make up your mind today to cast down the enemy of fear, depression and defeat! Make up your mind to cast off everything that seeks to way you down. Make up your mind to focus on your GREAT AND AWESOME GOD! Tell yourself, “I CAN PREVAIL!” Tell yourself, “With the help of the LORD I WILL MAKE IT!!!”

Be encouraged! Be blessed by this song, “You Can Make it!” By Betty Griffin Keller…

You Can Make It

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Shepastor: “Are We Perishing from a Lack of Knowledge?”

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Hosea 4:6, KJV

As leaders in the faith community, we are held to a higher law – that of teaching, preaching and leading people to know and love the Lord and to trust and follow His Word. We also have the very important responsibility of serving as community leaders – exemplifying and teaching what it means to “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.”

Like no other time in recent history, the covers are being pulled back on the health, economic and educational disparities between the majority culture and minorities in America. False information is leading some to believe that minorities and younger individuals cannot be infected by the Corona virus. According to a recent news report, African Americans comprise approximately 13.4% of the U.S. population, yet they account for approximately 60% of deaths related to COVID-19 (Read more at "Black communities account for disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths in the US, study finds")

Many, believing and hoping that somehow COVID-19 will just disappear and we can return to life “as usual,” are ignoring the realities of science and the cautions of the medical community. It is incumbent upon us as faith/community leaders to help people to understand the elusive, dangerous and deadly nature of this disease. Without inciting fear, but instead by faith, we must encourage our congregants and others to listen to the facts, follow the guidance of our health professionals and avoid engaging in activities that unnecessarily expose themselves and others to the virus.

We also have the responsibility to challenge “the powers that be” to do all that they can to increase testing, pursue a viable vaccine and support local governments financially, enabling them to issue the necessary finances to individuals, families, small business leaders, etc., so that people can survive.
May we arm ourselves with the necessary knowledge to address all of the above. May we do what we can to help support one another…call others, send cards, make donations, offer to help someone who cannot help themselves, practice social distancing, wear gloves and masks. Walk in wisdom!

Refuse to perish for a lack of knowledge!

In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris