Saturday, September 22, 2007

When Forgiveness Is Needed– Psalm 51

When Forgiveness Is Needed– Psalm 51
By Pastor Lee Hemen
September 23, 2007 AM

Have you ever blown it so bad that you felt like no one could ever forgive you for what you did? I have. Often when we make a mistake it is hard for us to own up to “blowing it.” Why is that? I believe it is because of pride. We do not want to admit we blew it, and worse, we do not want to admit we were in sin. David blew it big time. He not only allowed temptation to take hold in his life, he willingly plotted the death of an innocent man to cover up his adultery. Confronted with his horrendous sin, David realizes that although he does not deserve God’s love and acceptance, he desperately needs God’s forgiveness.

Herein lies a truth that we often forget: God is holy and cannot have fellowship with that which is not holy. Holiness is not being good, nice, or even desiring to be good or nice. Holiness is not sinning. This Psalm of David’s, so eloquently written, teaches us what to do when forgiveness is needed. Let’s discover what it means to be restored with God in fellowship.

READ: Psalm 51

Someone once asked me, “How do you know if someone is truly a Christian?” I replied, “It is not just simply believing there is a God, demons know that. And it is not simply believing in Jesus, many today say they do but it is not evident in their lives. Being a Christian is when you have confessed your sin, placed your trust in Christ, have recognized Him as the only means of salvation, and as Lord of your life. Then, you will display it by living a Godly life.” The starting point here is important in the spiritual process. David understood this and realized that when forgiveness is needed…

I. We need to confess our sins (vv. 3-6)!

1. Confession is more than good for the soul, it renews our relationship! It is not only being honest with yourself, it is being honest with God. God knows your sin, but He wants you to fully understand it as well. Why? God is holy. And, if you say you are a Christian, you should be living a holy lifestyle! Paul would say that as a Christian you “are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9) Paul would go on to relate that “we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:12-14) John would remind us that “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him [Jesus] out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:8-10) David understood this well. He had sinned with Bathsheba and had paid the price of losing his firstborn son. Christians suffer the price of lost fellowship with their Lord. For David it was a matter of returning to God. Of confessing his sin and being restored. The same is true for us: When forgiveness is needed, we need to confess our sin!

EXAMPLE: “Now, what do you have to tell me?” my father asked as he sat down on the back porch steps. Some days this seemed like a common occurrence. Me sitting on the back porch trying to explain to my Dad just how and why I had messed up for the day. Sometimes, it was hard to get the words out because I felt like there might come a time when Dad would not want to hear my asking for him to forgive me anymore, but he never did. Sure, I had to pay the price of my disobedience, but I found that if I was honest, he always forgave me. Make no mistake, Dad did not accept an “I’m sorry.” Anyone could be “sorry,” but if I really was honest and openly confessed to him what I had done, he forgave me. I guess it was because he loved me. David found this out as well. When forgiveness is needed, we need to confess our sin.

We may think God will not want to hear from us one more time.” But this is simply not true. He is never too busy, never tires of listening to us, and always is ready to hear our cry for help in times of struggle. It serves two important aspects in our spirituality: 1) Our dependency on God alone, and 2) our willingness to go directly to Him. He is always a prayer away. David understood this and realized that when forgiveness is needed…

II. We need to petition the Lord (vv. 1-2, 7-12)!

1. Petition knows that it has nothing to offer and nowhere to stand! David uses three very descriptive verbs here: “blot out,” “wash away,” and “cleanse.” Interestingly, they are probably drawn from the liturgical ceremonial law in which one might be purified for temple participation. David understood that only God could do what he asked. It was “according to [God’s] unfailing love” and His “great compassion” alone that David appealed. Notice in verses 7-9, David reverses the order: cleanse, wash, and blot out! His only desire was “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David understood that God’s gift of the Holy Spirit for him was based on his willingness to remain pure before the Lord, God could now remove His guidance from David. David cries, “Do not cast me from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from me.” King Saul had been removed from God, David was in danger of this as well. He cries, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Otherwise, David had no hope. Not true for the Christian! Because of Jesus, the Spirit never leaves the life of a believer; at the moment of salvation He indwells us forever! However, a Christian can be hindered from service because of sin! David was also aware that in order to experience the joy he once had in his salvation, he needed God’s inner spiritual renewal. Isaiah tells us to “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on Him while He is near…. Let him turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him!” (Isaiah 55:6 & 7) When forgiveness is needed, we need to petition the Lord.

EXAMPLE: It is not always easy to ask someone else for help. Ask any guy who has worked on his car by himself! I can remember laying under our old blue Chevy Astro Van and wondering, “Lord, how in the world am I going to fix the oil leak that is gushing out onto the gravel?” It was more than a question, it was a plea for help in a time of great distress! Not knowing who to turn to or what to say, I finally bit the bullet and cried for help from the Lord and He directed me to call the church we were headed for. I remember being kind of blunt on the phone, but the reply was, “Do not worry. We will be right there.” Not only were they there in short order, but they also crawled under the van, patched it up enough to drive it, brought extra oil, and took it to a private garage where it was completely fixed! Afterwards, I remember apologizing for my bluntness. My rescuer laughed, “Hey, you were up to your armpits in oil! I guess you were having a bad day!” He understood completely. And that’s the way the Lord is as well. When forgiveness is needed, we need to petition the Lord.

Far too often when the trial is over, or our sin is forgiven, we forget to praise the One who forgives us: The Lord! Praise should come quickly to the lips of the person whose sins have been forgiven. In fact, all Christians should find it easy to praise God because of what He has done in their lives! David teaches in his Psalm that when forgiveness is needed…

III. We need to praise God for what He has done (vv. 13-17)!

1. Praise is the thanksgiving of our hearts when we are cleansed from our sin! David declared he would do several things if God would hear his cry: 1) David said that if God forgave him, he would teach sinners God’s ways, 2) David said if God forgave him, he would sing and praise God. David knew that only when he was delivered from his blood-guiltiness could he in reality join in praising God! The idea was from the ability to worship in the temple only after being cleansed through the shedding of blood from a sacrifice. And 3) David promised that if God forgave his sins he would sacrifice to God. He knew that God did not desire simply an animal sacrifice from him. Rather the sacrifice he had to bring was “a broken and contrite (crushed) heart”—a humbled spirit fully penitent for sin. That is what God desires and will receive! In the Old Testament, anyone who sinned as David did had to receive a word from a priest or prophet indicating he was forgiven. In the New Testament the word of forgiveness is forever written in God’s Word—the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from sin: “If we claim to have fellowship with Him [Jesus] yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7). Praise should always follow forgiveness! When forgiveness is needed, we need to praise God for what He has done!

EXAMPLE: This is why later David could sing at the top of his lungs, “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:1-5) He was praising God for forgiving him of his sin! When was the last time you sang praises to God for His forgiveness? When forgiveness is needed, we need to praise the Lord for what He has done!

Conclusion:
When forgiveness is needed we need to confess our sins, petition the Lord, and praise God for what He has done. Is forgiveness needed in your life?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

When Your Heart Sings to God! – Psalm 98
By Pastor Lee Hemen
September 16, 2007 AM
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NOTE: You will need to be patient if you have a slower connection to view music videos that go with this sermon. Click on the link to watch in order.
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Have you ever felt so good about something that you just had to sing? I have. Last week I shared with you a little bit about this way of praising the Lord through song. But this week I want us to look at where praise truly comes from and how it can be expressed in our lives. Praise comes from the heart of a person whose life is given over to the Lord.

David often expressed his praises to God in the form of music and song. Being somewhat of an accomplished self-taught musician, David found comfort, joy, and intimacy in praising God through his music. But more than that, David also discovered that “God inhabits Israel’s praise.” (Ps. 22:3) The modes of praise are many, including the offering of sacrifices (Lev. 7:13), physical movement (2 Sam. 6:14), silence and meditation (Ps. 77:11-12), testimony (Ps. 66:16), prayer (Phil. 4:6), and a holy life (1 Pet. 1:3-9). However, praise is almost invariably linked to music, both instrumental (Ps. 150:3-5) and, especially, vocal (Ps. 98). Let’s discover what it means, when your heart sings to God…

READ: Psalm 98

I cannot help but remember things my father did with us when I look at photos of him and our family. When I go through the few things I have of his, it brings me back immediately to some of the best times I had growing up. The same should be true for the Christian. We discover from David’s Psalm that when your heart sings to God…

I. You will remember the wonderful things God has done (vv. 1-3)!

1. God remembers us, we should remember God with our praise! It should be a song that falls easily from our mouths, because redeeming love is a new melody written in our hearts by God! Christians sing “a new song,” very different from what they once sang in their old way of life. If the grace of God made a new heart in our lives, it will also put a new song on our lips! Therefore, let this “new song” be sung to praise God for the wonder He has wrought in our lives! The Redeemer has “worked salvation” for us and has overcome all difficulties for our redemption. “The LORD has made His salvation known and revealed His righteousness to the nations.” We can praise Him for His sacrifice, our newness of life, and our redemption! Paul would sing, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15) David would sing, “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion!” (Psalm 103:1-4) God indeed “has remembered His love and His faithfulness to the house of Israel,” by making anyone His chosen people through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Now, “all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God!” When your heart sings to God, you will remember the wonderful things God has done!

EXAMPLE: Let’s join together as we remember the wonderful things God has done for us! As we do we will discover that He is indescribable!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmTxZAl7ceU&mode=related&search=

It is a fact that one person can set the emotional and spiritual tone of any given situation. We know that it is also up to us how we respond to any given situation. We decide. Christians as they praise God must realize the beautiful truth that their praise influences others as well. When your heart sings to God…

II. Others will join you in singing praises (vv. 4-6)!

1. The praise of God’s people should be infectious! Notice that the Psalmist cannot contain himself because of the joy he feels. He gives us three commands we should follow if we want to join with him in praising God: We are to 1) “Shout for joy to the LORD,” 2) “burst into jubilant song,” and 3) we are to “make music to the LORD!” No confined stogy sedate smothering dusty old squeaky song will do! If we are the children of God, then we should sound like it! If we have been given the task of bringing about His kingdom here on earth until He comes again, then we should sound like it! We are to make music with the “harp,” with “the trumpet,” with “the blast of the ram’s horn,” and with our voices! As loud and as long as we can! I have often thought that one of the reasons so many people are not interested in following Jesus is not because of Jesus. He is wonderful, glorious, beautiful, gracious, and loving. No it isn’t because of Jesus so much as it is often His followers that hinder others from giving their lives to Him. Why? Because who wants to be part of those who find no reason to shout and sing about Jesus!? Paul would sing, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:35-39) When your heart sings to God, others will join you in singing praises!

EXAMPLE: How can we not come together in this place, this morning, and not praise God together? Praise should be infectious for the believer! After all, we are here to worship…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoxopsRSfdU

We miss so much in life because we are in such a hurry. I find that God is constantly whispering to us to slow down and listen to His voice. We can hear Him in His Word as we read it, in our prayers as He whispers to us, and in the music our hearts make as we live for Him. When your heart sings to God…

III. You will discover that all of creation sings praises as well (vv. 7-9)!

1. Creation is never silent in its praise of God! “Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD!” Why? Because God is coming “to judge the earth!” Creation rejoices because it knows that all things will be made new! God, when He returns, “will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.” The Apostle John, on the Isle of Patmos, “heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:3-5) Paul related, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:22) Creation wants to be restored! This sinful condition is not its natural state. God desires that His creation be restored and has made a way for it to occur through Jesus Christ! Originally, when God made all things the “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy!” (Job 38:7) Now it is our turn to lead the singing as all things are made new. When your heart sings to God, you will discover that all creation sings praises as well!

EXAMPLE: I find it impossible not to see and hear the whole of creation singing to God! In fact, this morning when we praise God all of creation joins in our praise as well. Why is that? Because God is above all things…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9C_1imlGRE&mode=related&search=

Conclusion:
When your heart sings to God, you will remember the wonderful things God has done!
When your heart sings to God, others will join you in singing praises!
When your hearts sings to God, you will discover that all creation sings praises as well!
After all, you and I were made to worship…

Sunday, September 09, 2007

When We Hear God’s Voice – Psalm 95

When We Hear God’s Voice – Psalm 95
By Pastor Lee Hemen
September 9, 2007 AM

Praise easily falls off the lips of those who know God and this Psalm of David teaches us this beautiful truth: When we hear God’s voice we just have to praise Him! Sadly, some folks go through their entire lives never hearing God’s voice. But those of us who have understand that it comes when we spend time alone with God. We learn that when we do hear God’s voice it is a time to pay attention and respond to what He is saying to us. Today, some of you for the first time will hear God’s voice telling you to make a decision to follow Christ, to join the church, or to come for baptism. Whatever He tells you to do as you listen, make sure you respond when you hear God’s voice.

READ: Psalm 95

I will never forget after attending a pastor’s conference on listening to God speak, a pastor sarcastically asked me, “Did you hear God speak to you?” I quickly replied, “Yes, have you?” He stammered a reply that was kind of nondescript in its content. I have learned over the years that many Christians struggle with the notion that God wants to personally speak to them, and because of this, they have never heard God’s voice. Yet all throughout Scripture we discover God speaking to His people. In this Psalm we learn that when we hear God’s voice…

I. It is an invitation to praise the Lord (vv. 1-2)!

1. Praise comes form our intimate relationship with God! It is an outgrowth of our walk with the Lord. This is why the Psalmist could readily command, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD!” He wanted those who knew the joy of the Lord to “come” and “sing for joy!” When you spend time with someone you get to know them a whole lot better. The reason many believers do not know how to truly praise God is because they do not spend time with God! He goes on to say, “let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation!’ How many Baptists do you know who “shout aloud” to Jesus their Rock? Why not? Don’t Baptists have something to shout about? Too many spend more time shouting at one another instead of shouting in joy to their Lord! And notice we are to, “come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.” When we come before God with joy, we just have to thank Him for what He has done for us, then can “extol” (worship) God in Spirit and truth, just as Jesus said we would. When you hear God’s voice, it is an invitation to praise the Lord!

EXAMPLE: Albert Ketchum wrote in his hymn: “Deep in my heart there’s a gladness; Jesus has saved me from sin! Praise to His name what a Savior! Cleansing without and within! Why do I sing about Jesus? Why is He special to me? He is my Lord and my Savior, dying He set me free!” This is why the Christian praises God! Our salvation and our personal relationship with Jesus is an invitation to praise the Lord! When we hear God’s voice, it is an invitation to praise the Lord!

Praise comes from our intimate relationship with God. Why is that true? Well, just like I related earlier it comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Far too often there are those who only think of God as their “buddy,” instead of who He truly is. This is because they are confused about their relationship with God the Father and how it has come about because of Jesus Christ His Son. When we come to Christ we understand who God is and what Jesus has done for our lives. But more than that, we truly understand for the first time who God truly is. We quickly discover that when we hear God’s voice…

II. It is a recognition of Who God is (vv. 3-5)!

1. Great and mighty is the Lord our God! The Psalmist would sing, “For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.” He sang this not because he believed there were other gods, but because he knew there were not! He knew that God alone “is the great God.” God was “King!” This is why Paul tells us that “God, the blessed and only Ruler, (is) the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see!” (1 Timothy 6:15-16) and John reminds us that Jesus “is Lord of lords and King of kings,” and that “On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!” (Revelations 17:14 & 19:16) In fact, God rules the “depths of the earth,” “the mountain peaks,” “the sea,” and the “dry land.” He formed and made them! God is sovereign over every force, real and imagined. Everything in Creation—including things the ungodly adore as gods—the Lord made, and therefore He has power over it all! John tells us that through Jesus “all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made,” (John 1:3) and Paul related that “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17) When we hear God’s voice it is a recognition of Who God is!

EXAMPLE: Marlene Bigley wrote in response to this Psalm the following chorus: “Great and mighty is the Lord our God; Great and mighty is He! Great and mighty is the Lord our God; Great and mighty is He! Lift up your banner, let the anthems ring, praises to our king. Great and mighty is the Lord our God; Great and mighty is He! Great and mighty is the Lord our God; Great and mighty is He!” When we hear God’s voice, it is a recognition of Who He is!

Great an mighty is the Lord our God! When you hear His voice you begin to adore Him. The prophets of old understood this quite well. As they entered into the presence of God they suddenly realized they were found personally lacking. Isaiah would cry out, ““Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Or, like Peter who fell at Jesus’ feet and moaned, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” after seeing Jesus do something Peter knew only God could do! (Isaiah 6:5 & Luke 5:8) These men discovered what the Psalmist did, namely that when you hear God’s voice…

III. It reminds us of who we are (vv. 6-11)

1. Praising God and recognizing Him, helps us to understand exactly who we are! After the realization of Who God was, the Psalmist could only utter the command again to “Come.” But now we are to come and “bow down in worship!” We are to “kneel before the LORD our Maker.” Why? Because “He is our God.” He is God alone “and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Only His sheep will recognize His voice and willingly come to Him. (John 10:25-28) So, the Psalmist holds out hope to those who have not heard their Master’s voice. He lovingly sings, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts!” Like the Israelites did which cost them their promised rest. The names given to the places reflect the problem. Meribah means “quarreling” and Massah means “testing,” for the people quarreled with the Lord and tested Him. God swore that they could not enter the land, but would perish in the wilderness. Another generation would enter the Promised Land. So, “today,” if you hear God’s voice, do not be like those who quarreled and tested God. “Come,” and hear God. “Bow down in worship,” and give God your heart. When we hear God’s voice, it reminds us of who we are!

EXAMPLE: Praising God and recognizing Him, helps us to understand exactly who we are! Mylon R. LeFervre poignantly wrote these lyrics: “Without Him, I could do nothing, Without Him, I’d surely fail; Without Him, I would be drifting Like a ship, without a sail. Jesus, O Jesus, Do you know Him today? Do not turn Him away! O Jesus, O Jesus, Without Him, how lost I would be. Without Him, I would be dying, Without Him I’d be enslaved; Without Him, life would be hopeless, But with Jesus, thank God I’m saved! Jesus, O Jesus, Do you know Him today? Do not turn Him away! O Jesus, O Jesus, Without Him, how lost I would be. When we hear God’s voice, it reminds us of who we are.

Conclusion:
When we hear God’s voice: 1) It is an invitation to praise the Lord, 2) It is a recognition of Who God is, and 3) It reminds us of who we are!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

God Is In Control - Psalm 93

God Is In Control - Psalm 93
By Pastor Lee Hemen
September 2, 2007 AM

We may at times wonder if God is in control when tragedy strikes. When airliners are taken over by madmen bent on pursuing their insane theology of God by flying jetliners into skyscrapers and killing thousands of innocent people in the process. We may wonder when a hurricane batters a city and washes it almost away, after the dikes protecting it collapse. We may wonder when a young teenage girl is brutally raped and murdered by two illegal aliens who were friends of her uncles. Does this mean that God is not in control? The Psalmist would say, “NO! God is in control!” Let’s discover how we can find comfort and wisdom in knowing this during times of tragedy in our lives.

READ: Psalm 93

Human beings like to think they control their destiny, but the longer we live we learn that this is simply not true. We lose loved ones, businesses, friends, and family at a moments notice. What was once here one day is gone the next, like chaff being blown away in the wind. Just when we think there is nothing and no one in control we discover that…

I. God is always in control! (vv. 1-2)

1. He is clothed with majesty and strength! Indeed, “The LORD reigns, He is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength.” God sits as King, exalted higher than the waves that rise above us, deeper than their immeasurable depths, greater than their strongest surge. The storm is in His all-powerful hands: “The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved,” for His rule over it was “established long ago… from all eternity.” God told Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) We can take heart for our lives, God is always in control. In its darkest moment, as their leader was dying, Moses reminded Israel, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) God is always in control.

EXAMPLE: Rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix led a promiscuous life, indulging in drugs and behaving outrageously on and off the stage. At the end of a concert in 1970, Jimi smashed his guitar. According to Robert McGee and Donald Sapaugh in the book “Search for Peace,” the audience screamed and applauded, but suddenly the frenzied applause stopped. Jimi had fallen on his knees and was staying in that position motionless. He broke the stillness by asking, “If you know real peace, I want to visit with you backstage.” But apparently nobody responded to his startling invitation. Several days later he died from an overdose of drugs. Peace, real peace, eluded Jimi Hendrix. Do you know real peace? Have you discovered, as that rock star did, that fame, money, and self-indulgence don't bring inner serenity? Prayerfully, then, you need to make another discovery. Only through a trustful commitment to Christ can you experience peace with God. Open your heart in faith to the Prince of Peace, inviting Him to come into your life and take control of it. Then, underneath all of life's agitation, you can know the peace of God--the very tranquility of heaven in the depths of your soul “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7). God is always in control.

There is a famous photograph that later was made into a painting taken of a French lighthouse whereby it depicts an enormous wave crashing over it. If you look closely at the photograph, which was originally a series of three taken in quick succession, you can see a lone lighthouse keeper standing on the leeward side of the light as the wave crashes completely over. While the storms of life rage we often wonder if we can survive, yet it passes and we do. We discover that within the storm…

II. God’s power is seen and felt in His presence! (vv. 3-4)

1. The strength of God is our strength! We know from life that trouble comes our way, according to Psalm 93, in relentless waves that surge and pound against our very souls and break upon them with furious force. We feel it to our very depths, yet in the midst of this violence is the power of God Almighty! The ocean in its dark deep mystery is no match for the Creator who made it. “The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.” The tides of life cover us but we know that “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the LORD on high is mighty!” Nothing on earth is greater than our God! In the Old Testament the sea is sometimes seen as a symbol of hostility. It is huge, deep, and can swallow a boat in moments. Very few who were lost on its surface returned. Often those who do not understand the power of God fail to see it or hear it when it comes by. Elijah was told by God to “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then we find that “a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” And it is there we discover the power of God, for like Elijah and our Psalmist discovered, we too learn that God’s power is seen and felt in His presence.

EXAMPLE: In October of 1991 a storm stronger than any in recorded history hit the coast off of Gloucester, Massachusetts. This "Perfect Storm" — so called because it was three storms combined into one — created an almost apocalyptic situation in the Atlantic ocean, where boats encountered waves of 100 feet (30 meters) — the equivalent of a ten-story building. These storms are some of the strongest and most terrifying manifestations of nature's strength. The crew of a swordfish boat the Andrea Gail was lost at sea and only a few small pieces of wreckage were ever found. Such power and might is amazing to see in person. I guess this is why many folks head to the beach when they hear a strong storm is coming ashore. They want to experience it for themselves. However, anyone who has ever been out at sea would not want to experience 100 foot waves in a small 72 foot fishing boat. As powerful as the wind and waves of the sea are, God’s power is seen and felt in His presence.

Conclusion:
Nations will go to war against one another, kingdoms will rise and fall, yet the majesty of the Lord remains. Isaiah tells us that “Oh, the raging of many nations—they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples—they roar like the roaring of great waters!” Yet the Psalmist understood that 1) God is always in control! And 2) God’s power is seen and felt in His presence! Why is this true? The Psalmist tells us that God’s “statutes stand firm.” His truth is sure. As Jesus related to His disciples, “if it were not so, I would have told you!” (John 14:2) God is in control and we can trust Him with our lives.