If you want really to make some spiritual mileage, try praising your Lord.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, thank God we’re in the world but not of it that’s why I say, “How in the world are you?” God keeps you shining and radiant and clean and filled with His blessing in the midst of a world that otherwise would leave you stained and tainted. “You”, says Simon Peter, “You who are kept by the power God through faith onto salvation ready to be revealed at the last day”. Thank God for His keeping power. Amen?
Well, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m speaking with you as usual from the little room at the end of the hall on the second floor of the big white house, and for 20 years and more it’s been home sweet home, and I look forward to these times of visiting with you, my precious friends. The last time we got together we were remarking that without God there is a predictable profile of experience that human beings undergo and it’s found in this 107th Psalm, that’s the Psalm that we began to look into a day or so ago.
When God is not in charge of a life, what happens then? First of all there’s the aimlessness, and pointlessness, and wandering that one experiences, they wandered in the wilderness. Then there’s the loneliness of heart that refuses to be assuaged to by any human relationship, a solitary way. And then there’s the lack of fellowship, they found no city to dwell in, no sense of belonging. And then there’s the nagging, unsatisfied hungers of the soul, hungry and thirsty, and finally there’s the give up, collapse point. There’s soul fainted in them, people out of cheer desperation just give up on life after having tried everything without God.
Solomon, you remember had this same experience, he tried money, and he tried culture, and he tried pleasure, and he tried works, and accomplishments, and all the rest, and after he had tried everything that life could afford, he said, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity”. Well, that’s the predictable conclusion that one will come to if you keep God out of your life. That’s exactly the point, that’s why then we come into verse 6 of Psalm 107 after you find these sad words that profile a human experience they wandered in the wilderness in the solitary way, they found no city to dwell in, hungry, and thirsty, their soul fainted in them, then they cried on to the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them out of their distresses and He lead them forth by the right way that they might go to a city of habitation.
This whole matter of aimlessness and pointlessness shows up clearly in many and otherwise successful life. Someone came to me the other day and said to me, “I just passed my 58th birthday Mr. Cook.” He said, “I want to talk to you”, well I said, “Come on sit down, we’ll talk.” “I own my own business, I’m successful, I have enough money, I own my own home, my family is a good family, we’re happy. My children are growing up well, they’re doing well in school, some of them have finished school and are now working and we’re happy as a family, very close and there’s nothing wrong with my marriage.” He said, “I really haven’t anything to complain about, but” he said, “I started to wonder as I passed my 58th birthday what have I really done with my life. What have I done that really counts?” He said, “I thought maybe I could talk to you about that”. Well, talk we did, and pray we did, and commit ourselves to the Lord Jesus we did, and in that moment there was a turning point I think in that gentleman’s life.
From successful doing and accomplishing together with a sense of aimlessness that he complained about from that kind of living, to of a purposeful living for eternity kind of life that made a great deal of difference in the way he approached every day. Wandering, solitary, the lonesomeness of heart, nobody can fill that aching void in your heart. It’s possible to be terribly lonely even in the midst of people you know. Have you found that out? Possible to be terribly lonely even in the midst of people you know or members of family or dear friends, still lonesome down in your heart because God is not there.
Hungry and thirsty, the unsatisfied longings of your heart, and then finally we come to place where you say, “It’s no use I give up on life, I’ve tried everything, I’ve done my best and it still doesn’t make sense.” It says, “Their soul fainted within them.” People give up inside long before they do outside, have you noticed that? People give up inwardly; they give up let us say spiritually long before the evidence shows up in visible actions or audible words. Long before you say, “I quit” you have said it inside. That’s why it’s so important to have an inner peace and an inner staying power that comes through the blessed Holy Spirit of God as He indwells when you trust the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Oh for that inner strength, Paul prayed for the people at Ephesus that they might be strengthened with might by God’s Spirit in the inner man, that’s where a real strength comes from. That’s where real staying prayer originates, strengthened with might by God’s Spirit in the inner man. People don’t backslide outwardly they backslide inwardly, and people don’t give up outwardly until long before they have given up inwardly. And it is that spiritual power that makes all the difference. How do you achieve that? You begin by acknowledging yourself, a needy sinner trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and as your Savior, and then following the leading of the Blessed Holy Spirit, who comes in to dwell in your life when you become a Christian. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God”, say Paul in Romans 8. “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
So the Holy Spirit comes in to dwell in your life when you commit yourself to Christ the Savior doesn’t He. And then your body then becomes, according to 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, what know you not that your body”, says Paul, “is the temple of the Holy Ghost which ye have from God and ye are not your own but ye are bought with the price therefore glorify God in your body.” So the whole thrust of this truth is the reason for praying, is that you are only headed for a collapse without it. The reason for committing your life to God in prayer is that you are inevitably going to give up without it.
So he says, “Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them, then they cried on to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses, He led them forth by the right way that they might go to a city of habitation.” Notice how this truth works, first of all, they cried on to the Lord in their trouble, that’s the fact. The fact of trouble, tell God the facts, have you ever done that? Most people when they pray, pray in general terms, ‘Oh Lord bless me” or “Oh Lord help me” and that of course is a good prayer there’s nothing wrong with it particularly.
Matthew 14, has the story of Simon Peter deciding to accept the challenge of the Savior when our Lord Jesus said, in response to Peter’s statement, “Lord if it be thou”, if it be thou – this is when they saw Jesus walking on the water, do you remember? And the Savior it said, “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid” and Peter answered and said, “If it be thou bid me come to thee on”, and he said, “Come”. “And then Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to come to go Jesus but when he saw the wind boisterous he was afraid and beginning to sink, he cried saying, “Lord, save me”. Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Him and said on to him, “Oh little faith, why didst thou doubt”.
So that’s a very short but effective prayer and there’s nothing wrong with that kind of praying, it works. But I’m saying if you want to pray really effectively over a period of a lifetime learn to share with the Lord the facts, their trouble, and then share with Him your feelings; He delivers them out of their distress. Distress is how you feel about the facts, isn’t it?
And so you tell God the facts and then He does something about your feelings. He delivered them out of their distresses. Not only that but he changes the direction of your life, he led them forth by the right way and he changes the ultimate destination and accomplishment of your life. It says that they might go to a city of a habitation. Pray on the facts, tell God the facts, they may be brutal, they may be cruel, it may cause you to flinch at the thought of telling God the truth about yourself but do it! Tell Him the truth and He will change your feelings, He’ll change the direction of your life, He’ll change the destination of your life, halleluiah for that, aren’t you glad it so?
And so the Psalmist lapses then in to this beautiful refrain, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” Small thought here, have you tried praising recently? Have you tried coming to your Lord in prayer and not asking for a thing, but just praising Him? Try that sometime, you will be amazed that what it does for your own soul, it seems to clear out the cobwebs of your soul, it seems to freshen the air so to speak that you spiritually are breathing and brings you in touch with your Lord in a way that nothing else quite accomplishes it.
If you want to glorify God start praising, “Who so offereth praise glorifieth me” the Bible says. And if you want to offer God an acceptable sacrifice start praising Him, “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually the fruit of lips giving thanks on to His name for with such sacrifices, God is well pleased”, says the writer to the Hebrews. If you want really to make some spiritual mileage my friend, try praising your Lord, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness”. Now that doesn’t preclude the possibility of telling God the truth about yourself as we said a moment ago but it is not either or, it’s both and. Yes bring your troubles to God, yes bring your needs to God, don’t be so stupid as to try to satisfy your own needs by yourself it will never work, you’ll give up. Bring your needs to God and then start praising Him for His goodness. The combination my friend is tremendous, you try it.
Dear Father today, help us to praise Thee in Jesus name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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