Week 26 June 24 - 30, 2018

A biblical portrait of living the Christian life in a broken world is our call to endure the darkness of night by renewing ourselves in the promise of a brighter morning.

There is no place in Scripture where this illustration is better captured than by King David’s poetic words in Psalm 30. In verses 4-5, he states, “Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

In this passage, David not only reminds us that we are currently in the midst of weeping through a dark and difficult night, but he gives us real hope to hang on until we make it to a joyful morning.

So why do we weep now, and what is the source of our joy when the sun finally rises? Thankfully, Scripture gives us a reason for our tears of today, but also a reason for our hope of tomorrow.

First and foremost, we weep today because of our sin. Romans 3:23 states, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This means that every human being since Adam and Eve has sinned against God through our thoughts, words, and deeds that have violated His holy standards and denied Him His rightful glory. We know that our sinful nature has prevented us from reaching our greatest potential as creatures made in the image of God. Therefore, these painful limitations often lead us to cry out for redemption from our sinful struggles.

Secondly, we weep because our sin has led to our separation. Romans 6:23 reveals, “For the wages of sin is death.” We are reminded daily that sin has brought continuous death that separates us from the ones we love. At every funeral we confront the reality that the penalty for our sins is that our spirits will eventually be separated from our bodies. We also become aware on a deeper level that our sin has separated us from the intimate, face-to-face relationship with the God who created us. These areas of separation become a constant source for our tears, and they sometimes make us wonder if our dark night will ever end.

Finally, we also weep because our sin and separation has led to our suffering. James 1:2-3 promises that we will face “trials of various kinds,” because “the testing of [our] faith produces steadfastness.” We suffer through the trials of life and cry out in our pain because these tests are never easy. James teaches us that God is more interested in our eternal holiness than our temporary happiness, so He leads us through the dark night of suffering because he knows it will produce a steadfast faith that has yet to come into full bloom.

However, Psalm 30:5 encourages us that we can endure the pain of our sin, separation, and suffering right now because of a renewed joy that comes with the morning. The gospel reminds us that as the sun rises in the sky to eliminate darkness, the Son has also risen from the earth to eliminate death.  In John 11:25-26, Jesus declares, “…“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

 In Christ, we have hope that our weeping is almost over and our joy is just around the corner. We can rest in the truth that Jesus Himself wept through the dark night of a crucified death to take the punishment for our sins, and He has already celebrated the joy of an Easter morning when His resurrection brought us eternal life.

 Therefore, let us cling to the words of King David and learn to sing praises to the Lord in the midst of our darkness. It won’t be long before the morning light floods through the windows of our soul, and we will celebrate a lasting joy with the Lord that will carry on for all of eternity.

Making it to a Joyful Morning

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Not the Sword, But the Lord

One of the ways the book of Psalms offer continuous praise to God is by acknowledging that all the blessings of His people come directly from His sovereign hand. Despite the numerous military victories that Israel enjoyed in the Old Testament as they conquered the Promised Land of Canaan, the psalmist in Psalm 44 clearly states that it was not a mighty sword but instead a mighty Lord that decided each battle. As verse 3 proclaims,“…for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.”

Repentance Leads to Restoration

A promise of restoration through repentance for all believers is often quoted in 2 Chronicles 7:14, which states, “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” While this promise is taken out of context when it is offered as a motivation for modern day America to seek political reform, it is still a promise that applies to Christians as the covenant people of God. If the church will seek the Lord in repentance and faith through prayer, believers can experience true healing and restoration.

The Heads, Hearts, & Hands of Love

As the Apostle Paul begins his first letter to young Timothy, he instructs him to guard sound doctrine and correct false teachers who have perverted the law of God. He then uniquely describes the motivation of a pastor to restore the church from doctrinal error in 1 Timothy 1:5 when he states, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” This pastoral love springs from a life of holistic transformation and includes a head of clear conscience, a heart of pure intentions, and hands of sincere faith.

Week 27 Readings:  July 1 – 7

-Day One:  1 Kings 10-11; 2 Chronicles 9; 1 Timothy 6

-Day Two:  Ecclesiastes 1-3; Psalm 45; 2 Timothy 1

-Day Three:  Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 125; 2 Timothy 2

-Day Four:  Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46; 2 Timothy 3

-Day Five:  Ecclesiastes 10-12; 2 Timothy 4  

TOOLS FOR NEXT WEEK’S TREASURE HUNT

Tips to Keep You on Track

          Our readings this week will take us completely through the book of Ecclesiastes. Much like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes is a book of wisdom literature composed by King Solomon. It offers true and lasting meaning in a fallen world through fearing the one true God. In 12 chapters, Solomon discusses how vane and meaningless life is without the Lord, as he describes the pursuit of accomplishments and possessions by themselves as nothing more than “a striving after wind.” Although this book begins with a pessimistic tone, as you read through it notice how Solomon eventually points to our seasons of life and years of toil as a gift from the hand of God. The king believes this because he acknowledges that God “has made everything perfect in its time.” He is teaching us as believers that there is nothing better than to be joyful and do good in our lives as long as we find our meaning and purpose in faithfully serving a sovereign Lord.