Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

  1. StumppedOne of the reasons some Christians offer for not being more intentional in sharing their faith is that they fear being asked a question they cannot answer.  While this is not a legitimate excuse for refraining from witnessing, this reality exists among many churches.  Today’s post is the first of two in which I wish to address this matter.

    I recall early in my walk with the Lord that I believed that I had to have an answer to every question an unbeliever asked.  While I was not afraid of being asked a question I could not answer, I believed that I had to give an answer immediately, even when asked a question that I did not know the answer to.  I felt that showing my ignorance would embarrass the Lord.  I believed that a lack of knowledge would reveal weakness.

    While there is no excuse for remaining ignorant and not growing in our knowledge of the Scriptures and how to better respond to people’s tough questions, we must understand that no one knows everything. This is a different matter than “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15, ESV).  All believers should be able to give witness to the gospel and call others to repentance and faith.  All believers should be in the process of “being prepared” to better defend the truth.  However, difficult questions will come.  And we should study the Scriptures to know the truth of God’s word, and to know how to respond appropriately to the tough questions.

    But, if you are asked a question that you can’t answer at the moment, be honest.  Simply say, I don’t know.  Consider the following truths regarding the importance of speaking out of knowledge and not ignorance:

    • “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly” (Prov 13:16, ESV).
    • “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Prov 29:20, ESV).
    • “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Prov 19:2, ESV).

    Here is a liberating fact when it comes to personal evangelism:  God does not need you or me to be his bodyguard.  He does not need us to be His defense.  He is big enough to take care of Himself.  When someone challenges you with a question, don’t freak out.  Simply say something such as, “You know, that is a very good question.  I have not thought about that.  And I don’t have an answer for you right now.  But, I want to find out the answer to your question.  Let’s get back together and talk about it.”

    In my next post, I will share the value of such a response to the Christian’s witness and gospel proclamation among the nations.

    J. D. Payne is the pastor of church multiplication with The Church at Brook Hills.  He is the author of several books including Evangelism: A Biblical Response to Today’s QuestionsHe blog frequently at jdpayne.org and may be found on Twitter @jd_payne. 

  2. ANNOUNCEMENT: Secret Church 15 Date and Topic

    Posted on July 9th, 2014 by Jonathan

    It may seem like Spring is a long way off, but we want to give you plenty of time to make plans for the next Secret Church gathering/simulcast.

    Secret Church 15 will take place on April 24, 2015, two weeks after Easter. Tickets to the live gathering will go on sale this January, and simulcast registration opens on October 1, 2014. The topic will be Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action.” Here’s the synopsis:

    The culture around us is constantly changing, and successive changes are often accompanied by significant challenges. So how does the call of Christ compel us to respond to these challenges? How does a Christian respond to the rapid rise of so-called same-sex marriage and the increasing acceptance of homosexuality? How does a Christian live in a world of sex slavery and rampant pornography, a world where babies are aborted and widows are abandoned? How does a Christian think in a culture of pervasive racial prejudice and limited religious liberty? What does a Christian do in a church that exalts prosperity amidst a world of extreme poverty? During this Secret Church, we will explore biblical foundations for answers to these questions and come to significant conclusions regarding how Christ calls every Christian to engage culture with a firm grip on the gospel in the church and a fervent passion for God’s glory in the world.

    We must not be ignorant of what the Bible says about some of the biggest issues Christians face today. So mark it out in your calendar; mention it to your friends and family; talk with your church leaders about potentially hosting a simulcast; begin making plans, whatever they are. Just make sure you don’t miss out on Secret Church 15.

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  3. “I love you, but can’t stand your wife.”

    Posted on July 3rd, 2014 by Jonathan

    The room was packed full of people, and the preacher held the audience in the palm of his hand. “I would like everyone to bow your heads and close your eyes,” he said, and we all followed suit.

    He then declared, “Tonight, I want to call you to put your faith in God. Tonight, I am urging you to begin a personal relationship with Jesus for the first time in your life. Let me be clear,” he said, “I’m not inviting you to join the church. I’m just inviting you to come to Christ.” As the preacher passionately pleaded for personal decisions, scores of people stood from their seats and walked down the aisles of the auditorium to make a commitment to Christ.

    Yet there was a problem in all of this. These people had been deceived. They had been told that it is possible to make a commitment to Christ apart from a commitment to the church. The reality, however, is that it’s biblically impossible to follow Christ apart from joining his church. In fact, anyone who claims to be a Christian yet is not an active member of a church may not actually be a follower of Christ at all.

    To some, maybe many, this may sound heretical. “Are you saying that joining the church makes someone a Christian?” you might ask. Absolutely not. Joining a church most certainly does not make someone a Christian.

    At the same time, to identify your life with the person of Christ is to join your life with the people of Christ. To surrender your life to his commands is to commit your life to his church. It is biblically, spiritually, and practically impossible to be a disciple of Christ (and much less make disciples of Christ) apart from total devotion to a family of Christians.

    But so many people think it is possible–and they try to live like it’s possible. It has even become a mark of spiritual maturity today for some professing Christians to not be active in a church. “I’m in love with Jesus,” people will say, “but I just can’t stand the church.”

    Really?

    Isn’t the church the bride of Christ? What if I said to you, “Man, I love you, but have I ever told you how much I can’t stand your wife?” Would you take that as a compliment?

    Similarly, isn’t the church the body of Christ? What if my wife said to me, “David, I love you, but I can’t stand your body”? I can assure you that I wouldn’t take that as a compliment.

    It’s impossible to follow Jesus fully without loving his bride selflessly, and it’s impossible to think we can enjoy Christ apart from his body. Jesus goes so far as to identify the church with himself when he asks Saul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Saul hadn’t persecuted Christ himself, but he had persecuted Christians, so in essence Jesus was saying, “When you mess with them, you mess with me.”

    To come to Christ is to become part of his church. Followers of Jesus have the privilege of being identified with his family. As we die to ourselves, we live for others, and everything Christ does in us begins to affect everyone Christ puts around us. Recognizing this reality and experiencing the relationship that God has designed for his people specifically in the church are essential to being a disciple and making disciples of all nations.

    The above excerpt can be found on pages 149-151 of Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live by David Platt.

  4. Why You Should Care about the Hobby Lobby Ruling

    Posted on June 30th, 2014 by David Burnette

    In case you missed it, the Supreme Court of the United States sided with Hobby Lobby in its ruling this morning, saying that the government cannot force closely-held, for-profit corporations to purchase abortion-causing drugs in violation of their religious beliefs. Conestoga Wood of Pennsylvania (another for-profit corporation) sided with Hobby Lobby in challenging this provision of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

    Russell Moore notes,

    “The ruling isn’t just a win for evangelicals, like the Southern Baptist Greens. It’s a win for everyone. Here’s why. A government that can pave over the consciences of the Greens can steamroll over any dissent anywhere. Whether you agree or disagree with us about abortion, every American should want to see a government that is not powerful enough to set itself up as a god over the conscience.”

    Sadly, today’s 5-4 ruling will go unnoticed by many people, including many Christians, while some media outlets continue to misrepresent the objections of these Christian business owners. So what was at stake? And why should you care as a follower of Christ? Here are some reactions worth reading, in no particular order:

    1. Why Hobby Lobby Matters, (Russell Moore)

    2. The Hobby Lobby Decision: A Big Win for Religious Liberty–and A Very Revealing Divide on the Court, (Al Mohler)

    3. What You Should Know about the Contraceptive Mandate Decision, (Joe Carter)

    4. The Supreme Court Agrees with Hobby Lobby, but Your Neighbor Probably Doesn’t, (Trevin Wax)

    5. Hobby Lobby and the Liberty of Conscience, (Kevin DeYoung)

    6. Moore Explains Good and Bad News of Hobby Lobby Decision, (TGC interview with Russell Moore)

    7. Grateful but Sobered by the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Verdict, (Denny Burk)

    8. Supreme Court Ruling on Hobby Lobby Case, (Al Mohler, The Briefing)

    Here’s Russell Moore with a four-minute video on the ruling . . .

  5. 2 Comments

    Two Reasons God Doesn’t Bless People

    Posted on June 19th, 2014 by David Burnette

    tumblr_n1iq25Wq701st5lhmo1_1280Why does God choose some and not others? Why does he bless this person and not that one?

    Most of us have asked these kinds of questions at one time or another. While Scripture doesn’t give us all the answers, it does tell us that God does everything for his own glory, and it consistently encourages us to trust in his wisdom and his goodness. However, when it comes to the question of why God chose Israel, Scripture does give us two answers we can cross off the list. But first let’s picture the scene.

    Israel, the people God has chosen for himself out of all the nations on the face of the earth, is standing on the border of the Promised Land. She is poised to receive her inheritance—a land flowing with milk and honey and every other blessing imaginable. That’s the setting of the book of Deuteronomy. And yet, despite the fact that the Promised Land was a gracious gift given to this grumbling and disobedient people, Israel would still be tempted to stick out its proverbial chest.

    Twice in the early chapters of Deuteronomy—Deuteronomy 7 and 9—God sends a preemptive strike against his people’s temptation to boast. Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land and its military success could easily lead to arrogance, and God knew it. Which is precisely why he gave them reasons for his electing purposes.

    God specifically told Israel that he did not choose them because . . .

    1. They were large and impressive.   “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you . . . ” (Deuteronomy 7:7)

    When it came time to enter the Promised Land, Israel was as numerous as the stars of heaven (Deut 1:10). That alone can make a people feel proud, particularly since fruitfulness is often associated with God’s favor (Psalm 127:3-5). It can also make you feel safe against large foreign armies. But God didn’t choose this tiny group of nobodies–a mere seventy people when they originally went down to Egypt–because of their size. No, they were the “fewest of all peoples” (Deuteronomy 7:7). God chose them because he loved them and because he is faithful to the word he gave to their fathers.

    2. They were righteous.   . . . the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness . . .” (Deuteronomy 9:6).

    Not only was God unimpressed with Israel’s size and strength, but he was also well aware that they were a “stubborn people” (9:6). It was not because of their righteous obedience that He drove out the inhabitants of the Promised Land for them. It was because of the wickedness of these idolatrous nations, and because the land had been promised to Israel’s forefathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (9:5).

    The temptation to be prideful about God’s blessing was not unique to Israel. All those who belong to Christ, including you and me, must guard against thinking that our salvation is in some sense owing to our own wisdom or self-discipline, or to the good choices we have made. Pride can take anything, even a gracious gift, and turn it into a reason for boasting. It’s no wonder the apostle Paul had to remind the proud Corinthians, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27). That’s an unflattering description of a Christian. But it’s actually good news.

    When the Spirit gives us a glimpse of what our hearts are really like, we will rejoice that God did not require anything good from us before pursuing us. “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). If you belong to Christ, you weren’t saved because you were strong and impressive, and you weren’t saved because you were righteous. Rather, you were saved because God is merciful and loving, and because he is working all things for the display of his glory. That’s reason enough to be thankful and to put way any prideful notions of greatness. The sooner you and I realize this, the sooner we’ll be able to boast in the right way— “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).

  6. Believers in Iraq

    Posted on June 18th, 2014 by Jonathan

    If you’ve been keeping up with the news over the last few weeks, you know that the situation in Iraq is quickly worsening at the hands of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). The al-Qaeda offshoot is one of the most extreme Islamist organizations in the world, and they are rapidly overtaking cities throughout the country; the most recent to fall under their control–Baqouba–is only 40 miles from the capitol city, Baghdad.

    Currently, ISIS also occupies Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. That siege induced 500,000 of Mosul’s 1.8 million residents to flee. Among those who fled were Iraqi troops and up to 1,000 Christians (almost emptying Mosul of believers).

    Christians in Iraq have become increasingly sparse over the last 25 years, decreasing from around 1.2 million to 300,000. ISIS brings a whole new threat to the already hostile environment of Christians living in Iraq. It is feared that ISIS will impose strict anti-Christian laws and restrictions on believers who fall under their authority … a fear that increases with each ISIS gain.

    Christianity Today’s “Thousands Flee as Terrorists Take Over Iraq’s Christian Heartland” was the main source for this story.

    (HT: Trevin Wax)

  7. Psalm-Shaped Parenting

    Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Scott James

    IMG_6772-1300x866I sat at my desk with coffee in hand and the Psalms opened before me. It was early in the morning and I could hear the kids beginning to rattle around in the adjacent room. Just as I was keying in on a particular verse, one of my little guys shuffled into the study still wiping the sleep from his eyes. He plopped down on the couch in front of me and eased into the morning by chatting me up about his grand plans for the day. I confess that part of me wanted to guard my “quiet” time by shooing him from the room, but I decided long ago that I want my kids to have memories of dad reading the Bible, not memories of dad shutting the door on them. So we talked a bit, sipped some coffee together, and when the conversation lulled I went back to Psalm 18.

    Immediately, the verse on which I had been meditating jumped back out at me. He rescued me, because he delighted in me (v. 19). My soul filled so deeply with the glory of that statement that it had to overflow somewhere, so I called my boy over and excitedly showed him the verse. We read it aloud and talked about how amazing it is that God rescues us from our sin because He delights in us. To a 4 year old, excitement is contagious so he was quickly giggling with joy over the good news as well.

    And that’s when the thought occurred: I’m not sure if I’ve ever specifically taught him this concept before. I’m confident that the idea of God delighting to save His people has been mentioned or implied in much of what my wife and I talk about with our kids, but I can’t recall ever intentionally highlighting it as this verse does, lifting our gaze to it as if it were a diamond in the light.

    The fact that it was a Psalm that triggered this fresh conversation with my son isn’t surprising. In reading through the Psalms, I am continually reminded that God’s character is vastly complex and beautiful—truly a multi-faceted diamond—and that our response to His glory should be appropriately varied. He is not a one-dimensional God and we are not one-track worshippers. The psalmists write of the many attributes of our Lord and model a broad range of emotions and actions in response to Him. Reading through the Psalms stretches me in a healthy way, bringing long-neglected truths back to my attention. Like anyone else, I have my theological hobbyhorses that I tend to focus on to the (relative) exclusion of other vital truths. I realize this danger for myself and so I strive to be shaped by the whole counsel of God rather than by just the doctrines that suit my personal predilections. So what does this have to do with the morning-time discussion with my son? That morning, Psalm 18 reminded me that this God-narrowing tendency creeps into parenting as well.

    It sometimes feels like a large part of parenting involves repeating the same set of phrases over and over. Finish your dinner. Put your shoes away. Stop hitting your sister. Put your pants back on. Most parents will attest that even when what you’re saying is good and true, Broken Record Syndrome can kick in and diminish the impact of your words. This is especially true when your kids pick up on the fact that you tend to harp on some rules while being pretty lax about others. The same can be said regarding how we teach God’s Word to our children.

    I talk with my kids about God quite often, but I recognize that my tendency is to repeatedly focus on the same subset of truths. I emphasize the truths that most captivate me and neglect those that are not currently on my spiritual radar. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to being a broken record, I’m all in favor of repeating the core truths of the gospel of grace every chance I get. But if my discussions with my children leave them thinking that the whole of our relationship with God boils down to a few repeatable key points, then I am failing to portray how His wide-ranging character intersects with every single aspect of our lives. Even worse, if I employ a cherry-picking discipleship strategy based on my own theological interests, rather than allowing Scripture to shape it beyond my own limitations, I am in danger of growing my kids in my likeness rather than growing them in God’s likeness. That’s a scary thought.

    So, my plea to fellow parents is this: as you disciple your children, let the Word of God broaden your palate. The Psalms are particularly helpful in this regard. Let the psalmists bring to light wondrous (and sometimes difficult) truths that you are not naturally inclined to dwell on. Meditating on the Psalms will propel you to engage your kids’ hearts in a way that communicates a big God—a God who is fully able to minister to the vast range of emotions and thoughts roiling in their embattled hearts. In your home, let the Psalms display God in His multi-faceted beauty. Trust me, He’s far better than any other version you or I could come up with.

    – Scott James is a husband, a father of 4, an elder at The Church at Brook Hills, and a physician. He is the author of The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent, which releases this October. You can follow him on Twitter at @scott_h_james.

  8. 1 Comment

    Trusting God in the Mire: Reflections on Psalm 56

    Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Scott James

    “In God we trust” may be a familiar idiom, but what does it look like when the rubber meets the road? Let’s take a look at a biblical example of what it means to trust in God in a practical sense. In Psalm 56, David gives some substance to the nature of trust.

    Running for Your Life

    Look first at the extraordinary situation from which David pens these words. The introduction of this Psalm says that it was written when the Philistines had seized David in Gath. Here’s the backstory: David is a young man whom God has anointed to become the next king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1, 12 13); the current king, Saul, is obviously not in favor of this, so Saul turns against David (1 Samuel 18:10ff) and sets out to kill him (1 Samuel 19:1). David is therefore running for his life and unfortunately ends up in the hands of his greatest enemy, the Philistines—carrying their slain hero’s sword, no less (1 Samuel 21:9–10). This is clearly not a good situation for David. The people of Gath immediately recognize David and, with a mixture of cowardice and cunning, David feigns madness to escape the deadly situation (vv. 12–15).

    David wrote psalm 56 in the midst of this terrifying situation. In it, David admits that when faced with a dire circumstance his initial reaction was marked by fear and panic. However, more important than his gut reaction, David asserts that steadfast trust in the Lord is the only solution to a troubling scenario like this. Easy to say, but what does that kind of trust actually look like?

    In order for us to understand the testing that David’s faith is undergoing, a large portion of Psalm 56 is spent cataloging how his enemies are bent on destroying him: vv. 1, 2, 5, and 6 all detail the unceasing assaults from which David is running. He is trampled, oppressed, attacked, and his cause is injured. He is the subject of evil thoughts and is the target of a strife-inducing manhunt that is ultimately aimed at ending his very life.

    Trembling and Believing

    In the middle of this catalogue of doom, verse 3 shows us that David is no Stoic—he openly admits fear. But the great thing about this honest confession is that he immediately follows it up with an affirmation of his trust in God. It’s important to see from this that, in some sense, it is possible for fear and faith to occupy the same mind at the same moment.

    So that’s what David was up against, but what does his assertion of trust amount to? David tells us three times in vv. 4 and 10 that he puts his trust in God, “whose word I praise.” To trust in God is to rightly value His word. David trusted God by believing that God would actually do what He had promised to do. Specifically for David, the word he was trusting was likely God’s promise to give him the kingdom and make him the head of a royal dynasty (1 Samuel 16). At this point in the story—hiding out from the murderous Saul in desert caves, acting insane to escape the Philistines—this promise seems laughable. Despite present appearances, however, David still believes God’s word, so much so that it causes him to praise God (vv. 4 and 10) even while he is still neck deep in dire circumstances.

    With this trust, David confidently speaks out: “I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (v. 4). In v. 9 he states that his “enemies will turn back” because he calls on the Lord as his deliverer. In vv. 12 and 13, David offers up a thank offering, saying to God, “you have delivered my soul from death.” David is so confident of his deliverance that he speaks of it in the past tense. That confidence is not based on guesswork, sketchy prophecy, or bravado; it is appropriate only because God has already told David what He has in store for him. David actually takes God at His word and acts upon it, even when the circumstances don’t seem to match. For David, this meant that he stepped out of the cave while the odds still seemed stacked against him. He continued the fight that eventually culminated in his ascension to the throne of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-3). That is trust in God.

    Not Just for David

    We too are called to trust God in a way that is every bit as real as David’s trust. Just as David heard God’s word through the prophet Samuel, so too we have a sure word, for the Bible is God’s very word to us. It is the vehicle through which He reveals His will and in it He makes countless promises to us. Our trust is firmly founded in this God who speaks.

    We trust in God by believing in what He has said and, no less importantly, by believing that He actually intends to fulfill His word. Hebrews 10:23 tells us that our hope is well founded because “He who promised is faithful.” Just like David, our hope is based on God’s faithfulness, not our present circumstances. So let’s step out in faith like David, praising God for who He is and living lives that show we believe He will accomplish all his good purposes, just as He said He would.

    – Scott James is a husband, a father of 4, an elder at The Church at Brook Hills, and a physician. He is the author of The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent, which releases this October. You can follow him on Twitter at @scott_h_james.

  9. On Closer Inspection: Habbakuk 1:5

    Posted on June 3rd, 2014 by David Burnette

    images-1Popular verses of Scripture can take on a life of their own. This is natural in one sense, as these verses tend to conjure up certain ideas and emotions; we may even have a history with them. However, as we repeat these verses and apply them to new situations (a good thing, to be sure), we can easily forget what the biblical author was actually saying. In some cases, the meaning of the verse is very different from the truth we intend to communicate.

    For some, Habakkuk 1:5 is one of those misused verses. Maybe you’ve heard it in the context of global missions. Here’s what God says to the complaining prophet:

    “Look among the nations, and see;
    wonder and be astounded.
    For I am doing a work in your days
    that you would not believe if told.”

    God promised Habakkuk that he would do an astounding work among the nations, and so we hope God will do the same in our day. However, in this example we may actually be saying the opposite of what God was saying to Habakkuk. Consider what we’ve got right about this verse as well as what we need to reconsider …

    What We’ve Got Right

    We honor God when we trust Him to do a work that only He can do. This is biblical faith. Paul goes so far as to say that God can do “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). Therefore, we have every reason to trust God to exceed our expectations. His hand is not too short to save (Is 59:1), so there is certainly nothing wrong with asking Him to give the gospel unusual success around the world. We should ask God to do a great work among the nations in our day.

    But this is not what’s going on in Habakkuk 1:5.

    What We Need to Reconsider

    Habakkuk begins his prophecy by crying out to God for justice. He wants to know why God seems to be sitting idly by while destruction and violence go unchecked among his people. It’s at this point that God lets Habakkuk in on a little secret: a plan for retribution is already under way. But no one could have imagined a day of reckoning like this.

    God was going to use an exceedingly wicked and violent people, the Chaldeans, to carry out his purpose. That’s why Habakkuk was told to look to the nations. God was going to use these foreigners to punish Israel for her sins. But Habakkuk didn’t have categories for this–God’s people being punished by the cruel and idolatrous Babylonians? No wonder God said, ” … you would not believe if told.”

    The fact that God’s ways are not our ways means that sometimes we will be uncomfortable with how he carries out his purposes. Our wisdom is limited and tainted with sin, so we must trust God’s character and his promises. He is accomplishing his purposes in a way that brings glory to himself, and in the end, it will be good for his people as well. Even when He uses arrogant Chaldeans to do His work.

    So, yes, look to the nations and know that God is at work. But don’t be surprised if you end up dumfounded like Habakkuk. God may be working in ways you never could have guessed–both for salvation and for judgment.

  10. From Fear to Faith: A Look at the Pslams

    Posted on May 14th, 2014 by Jonathan

    Perhaps no book in the Bible is as directly helpful for pushing people to cry out to God than Psalms. Take Psalm 56, for instance …

    At no fault of his own, David was a fugitive.

    Fleeing King Saul–murderous with jealous hatred toward David–he sought refuge in Gath. Not long after arriving in Goliath’s hometown (who David had struck down and whose sword he now carried), he was seized by Achish, the king of Gath. It was in these desperate circumstances that David penned Psalm 56. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (vv 3-4).

    What could man do to David? A lot. After all, he was not just at odds with the school bully who wanted his lunch money. We were talking about Saul and Achish, kings who had authority … and who did not exactly count David a friend. How, then, does he get from “when I am afraid” to “I shall not be afraid”?

    The answer is clear: he trusts in the character of God and praises the Word of God (vv 3-4, 10-11). God is an omnipotent, merciful, just, and caring Deliverer who gives light to life. And God’s Word is supreme, sure, and sufficient.

    While we may not be able to directly identify with a to-be king on the run from two other kings who want him dead, we can definitely find some common ground. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed, been opposed, felt alone, or been afraid, then take comfort in Psalm 56 and let it propel you to trust in God and praise his Word. The God in whom David trusted and the Word David praised has not changed–he is just as true and just as dependable today. You need only to turn to him.

    There is a difference though. When we trust in God’s character and praise God’s Word today, we do so in the Son of God. Jesus Christ is the fullness of God’s character and the Word made flesh. So when we let Psalm 56 instruct us in our time of need, our gaze is directed toward Jesus.

    The above was from Pastor David’s sermon “From Fear to Faith,” which kicked off a six-week-period in which three Psalms will be taught each week. We’ll be posting Psalm-related encouragement here on our blog throughout the mini series. You can access last week’s messages here:

    How Do I Glorify God?” – Psalm 57
    The Confession of Man and the Compassion of God” – Psalm 51
    The Steadfast Love of God’s Adoption” – Psalm 52