Standing Strong

How do we live by the values that God lays out for us through the trials and temptations of this modern age? Walk through the secret of standing strong in His shining grace and power.

Scripture: Psalm 37:16-18, Philippians 1:6


Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Are you doing alright today? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I’ve just been praying that God would bless you who listen and fellowship with me during these precious moments that we invest in looking at the Word of God. I trust that something will be there for you today. I’ve asked Him to put His wisdom in my heart and His words in my mouth and His love in my voice, so we’ll trust God for the answer to all of those prayers, and the answer to your needs.

We’re looking at Psalm 37 and I was reminding you that there is an answer to the logic of evil: evildoers, the wicked plots, the wicked plans, the attacks on the righteous. What’s the answer? Verse 9: “Wait on the Lord. They that wait upon the Lord shall inherit the Earth.” Now, that has at least two meanings; one is, wait on Him day by day so that you’re in his presence and His Spirit fills your life. The second approach to that verb wait is to wait for God’s timing. His timing is perfect and it doesn’t always coincide with my desires. Many times in my life I’ve found myself praying, “Lord, hurry up,” or words to that effect.

So the first answer to evil logic is to wait on the Lord. The second answer is that God’s values are best. Verse 16: “The little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.” God’s values are best. Have you taken a look at the value system of your life recently? What satisfies you, what delights you, what upsets you, what angers you, what are you for and what are you against? Have you looked honestly at your own value system recently? Do that, and as you do, seek God for His blessed overhaul of your value system.

I can remember a youth leader saying many years ago as he gathered his co-workers around him: “Now, fellas, we’re going out to play this basketball game with our kids. Whenever you get the ball, pass it to me, because I’ve got to look good.” Oh, I winced. I thought, “Oh, God bless him.” No, you don’t have to look good. You don’t have to be the most of anything. All you have to do is to let God have His way in your life. Wait on the Lord. God’s values are best. Then, the next thought that’s here is in verse 17: “The arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.” Now, that corresponds with the verse, “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”

God upholds you. What does that mean? It means he has a hold on you. If you take a little three-year-old across the street, you say, “Take my hand,” and you grab his and you hang on, don’t you? Now he may wiggle and whine and fret and want to go his own little way, but you know if you let him go, he’s going to dash out in the street and get run over, and so you hang right on to him. This, of course, leads us to a verse like Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” When you commit yourself to the Lord Jesus, He takes hold of your life and he upholds you.

A popular term nowadays is “burnout.” People get fed up with the job, fed up with the pressures; emotionally exhausted, not able to cope any longer with the crises of everyday, and they say, “I’m burned out.” Well, the answer to burnout, my friend, is not psychiatry, even though I’ve got some good Christian psychiatrists who are dear friends. It’s not just counseling, although I’ve got some people very close to me who are very capable counselors. The answer to burnout is really spiritual renewal.

Now that may take some time and it may take some counseling, and it may take a time of removing yourself from the geography of the particular stress that has gotten you. I understand all that. But the essence of it, beloved, is spiritual renewal. “The Lord upholdeth the righteous.” When God puts His loving, wonderful, everlasting arms around you and underneath you, I’ll tell you that nothing can upset you. Nothing can get you down.

In verse 18 (this is still the answer to the logic of evildoers, people who plot against you and troubles that seem to be conspiring against you), it says, “God has your life scheduled for now, as well as the hereafter.” The Lord knoweth the days of the upright (that’s the now), and their inheritance shall be forever (that’s the hereafter.) Stop and delight yourself with the realization that God has things planned out for you. For the present, the here and now, this world of green grass and mountains, and cups and saucers and Model-T Fords, and He also has plans for you in the future. “That in the ages to come,” we read in the New Testament, “might be known to the church the manifold wisdom of God.” God’s going to show you off before all the universe, throughout all eternity as proof that he is an all-wise and all-righteous God. He has your life scheduled.

Now how do you reconcile that with the happenstances of life? I’m driving along, and somebody pulls over and hits me. It turns out that he was dead drunk and it wasn’t my fault, and it happened. How do you reconcile that with the fact that God has everything scheduled, if things like that happen? Preacher? Well, frankly, I can’t reconcile that, because I’m not seeing things from God’s point of view. I only know that people I’ve talked with who have gone through unexplainable problems, that when they’ve gotten on the other side of them, very frequently got an insight into the why and into the results that they would not have had otherwise.

He says, “The Lord knoweth the days of the upright.” Does God know what’s going to happen a day before it happens? Of course he does. Does He know how you’ll feel when it happens? Of course He does. We have a High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, the Bible says. Does God have plans that are greater than things that may happen to you? Yes He does. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,” the Bible says. The presence of God and the plans of God and the purposes of God are all greater than anything this old world can foist upon you.

Frankel, it was I think, who remarked as he lived through the living hell of the concentration camps in Germany, “I discovered that it is up to the individual to be able to say, ‘The Lord is my shepherd,’ and in so doing, to rise above the circumstances.” Oh, listen. I don’t know what your situation may be today. How can I know? Even if you were to try to describe it to me, I couldn’t feel as you do. So sympathy isn’t going to reach very far if you’re hurting, or if you’re out of work, or if your home is breaking up, or if your health is deteriorating, or whatever. I realize that. But what I’m pleading with you about, beloved, is that God knows. God has plans. God is greater than anything that is happening to you right now. And God has a way of making you a victor, instead of a victim. “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place.” God makes you His perfume through situations that oftentimes threaten to crush you.

He has plans for your life now, and then hereafter. Can you grasp the magnitude of this concept, that God has plans for something that you will be doing a million years from now? It’s laid out. How do I know? Why, the God who created this infinitely complex world of ours, the God who created what we call DNA, the genetic code in every cell; they’ve discovered now that not only does the DNA have these little segments of coded material, but it has side channels beside each little segment, they tell me. There is immense complexity in sub-microscopic life. And then, reach out through the electronic telescope and find out that the universe is still there beyond anything we’ve ever discovered as yet. God did it all, and that kind of a God is the one who is your heavenly Father, and who says, “I have plans for you.”

Oh, I’ll tell you something. The more I think about that, the more I want to live close to my Lord, so that the plans He has for me are not going to be thwarted by my own carelessness, but what God has planned is going to work out for His glory. Don’t you feel the same way? In verse 19, there is still the answer to the logic of evil. What’s the answer? Wait on the Lord, take God’s values, depend on Him to uphold you, depend on His prior plans (He has your life scheduled), and then in verse 19, “they shall not be ashamed in the evil time and in the days of famine, they shall be satisfied.” No loss of face with God, either in bad times or in times of famine and need. (“In the evil time.”)

Now, unfortunately, the pages of history are splattered with the inkblots of human error and iniquity where people lived in what we now say were “evil times.” And I suppose that if the historians were to look back on 1989, the closing days of the twentieth century, they would say, “Oh, that was a bad time for many people.” Bad how? “Well, they lived in a crime-ridden neighborhood; they lived in an area where crack and other drugs were being sold and people were being murdered day by day and all of that: bad times.” Well, that’s probably true. By the same token, no matter what the circumstances in which you live, it says “they shall not be ashamed in the evil time.” God is able to make you a clear, shining example of His grace and His power, no matter what circumstances you live in. “They shall not be ashamed.” God will keep you shining for His glory, no matter what the circumstances. Well, we’ll get at the rest of this the next time we get together.

Father God, today, oh, may we depend upon Thy power and Thy plans and Thy purposes, 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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