Monday, May 26, 2008

The Week In Review

Destined for Greatness
(Preached at Langley Avenue Church of God 2/17/08)

We have heard this scripture read before, Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” KJV

But we don’t get the impression the people live this way, with this understanding when we listen to the news and the media today. We hear some disheartening things about the world we live in, and especially our youth. Let me give you some of the statistics of what’s happening in our world:

* There were 2.6 million new marijuana users in 2003. That was an average of 7,000 new users each day. 69% of these new users were under 18. That is 4,830 teens (and of those 52% are girls). If these trends are still true today, then that means 2,560 teen girls and 2,270 teen boys will start smoking marijuana this very day.

* Stats show that 80% of teens are involved in some type of music piracy within a six-month period of time and of this number a large percentage say they are born again believers or attend church.

* Statistics show that every day 1,000 new teens start to drink. If these numbers are still true today, then 1,000 teens will have their first drink this Sunday.

* 5.1 million teens say they binge drink.

* Statistics show that nearly ½ of all teens say they have had sex by their 18th birthday. Their hope was for the romantic feelings they saw in movies and the media. However, the reality of it set in and of that total, 61% of girls said they wish they had waited, and 40% of boys said the same.

* 1n the year 2000, there were 14.5 abortions per 1,000 teen females (ages 15-17)

These are only a few of the statistics of things happening in our world. When you hear this statistics, it might make you feel things are hopeless. What has happened in the world (especially in the Christian world) is we have heard these types of statistics about our youth and we have written them off. We have decided that many of these things are simply going to be, so why fight them. Our youth have been called such names as generation X as if they have no identity. But did you know something important about statistics? Statistics are numbers that report information that has happened and can only “Project” what might happen.
In other words, these numbers are not a truth until it has happened. I’m here to tell you this; it is not God’s plan for you to be just another negative statistic. He has not planned it in his heart that our youth will become only stats of hurt, disappointment and sinful life styles. In fact the scripture said you were fearfully and wonderfully made.

What does that mean? When something is fearfully made it means extreme care has been used to get that thing just as the creator wants it. It has not been done haphazardly. To be wonderfully made means God took delight in how he made you. You are marvelously made, done up with the brilliancy of God and with his magnificence. So you and I were made with extreme care and when God looked at his finished work he delighted in it and thought his work was marvelous, brilliant and magnificent. And anything God took such time with, surely his has a plan for. God had a plan for you when he formed you in the womb of your mother.

You can find encouragement for that purpose in the word of God. Sometimes people find it hard to think the Bible can give you a hope for today, with today’s issues. Yet I want to tell you, that the Bible can do just that. Today, we will look at the lives of two young people in the scripture that will reaffirm this very point of you having significance in God.

The first person we want to look at is David. Many know or have heard of David the great king or David and his battle with Goliath. Yet, we want to take a step back before those times. Let’s set the scene for David’s entrance into the scripture.

1 Samuel 8:5-7
They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

The children of Israel did not want to follow after the priest anymore. Samuel was old and his sons were not doing as they should and the people decided they wanted to be like other nations and have a king. Samuel disapproved of it. But God told him to give them what they wanted.

Now Samuel did allow the people to pick a king and they picked Saul. Do you think they picked him because of his valour, or his strength? NO they picked him because he was taller than everyone else. The looked at outward things and made their decisions. Saul was an okay king for a while and then he became full of himself and God decided, I’m taking the kingdom away and I’m going to pick a king my way. So God calls Samuel to go and anoint the new king. We see this in 1 Samuel 16:1-13 (David anointed).

As we read the scripture about David he simply shows up on the scene, we never knew anything about him before. Yet here he is, ready to be anointed King. David shows up in the mind of the writer as he writes about David, but let me interject here. David may simply be showing up as a youth in this picture ready to be anointed king, but he was always on the mind of God. God knew when he formed David in his mother’s womb what his purpose for him was. He knew that he was fearfully forming him – with extreme care to have the attributes of a king and to show the wonderful, and marvelous work of God. So as we look at David he does not look like a king yet, but God sees his future and what he will become. So this small boy does not look like kingly material but he is not done yet. Read the history of David and you find that he becomes a great warrior, a fugitive hero (where he runs from Saul with a handful of fugitives as his followers. He becomes king of Judah. After Saul’s death the tribe of Judah elects him king. He becomes king of Israel on the death of Ishbosheth, Saul’s son. He immediately works at uniting the kingdom together. He is David the psalmist. Many of the psalms are attributed to David. He is also in the ancestral line to Jesus Christ).

So, what is the point? Come back next week for the next installment.

The Week in Review

Invest in Your Marriage and Reap the Benefits

Often times we, as married people are so busy with life that we neglect the importance of investing in our marriage. We become busy with life and we may soon find ourselves married to a stranger. How do we fight against growing apart?

50% of marriages will end in divorce. While this is a projection, it is said to be close to the norm. The Barna Group statistics show that Christian marriages are slightly higher than any other faith. However, those that have marital counseling before they are married are more likely to survive. It is said that out of those marriages that have counseling 1 in 39,000 will end in divorce that is 0.000256 percent.

We have all heard the saying, a family that prays together, stays together. This saying has much truth in it. It is important that married people spend time in the Word to help them with right expectations. This is one of the greatest weapons, I believe, the enemy uses to destroy us. If we have false expectations about what our spouses should do for us, we begin to doubt if this is the person we should be married to. The first thing we can do to protect our marriages is look to God and ask him what should be our expectations. We would quickly find that our spouses are not to be the source of our joy and happiness.

Yes, we promise in our vows that we write to do everything to make each other happy, but it is a promise we are not able to keep. No matter what you do to try to make your spouse happy you will fall short. The reason is our total happiness should not come from each other. Our true happiness has to come from God. When we seek God for our joy and happiness, this is what makes us “full”. When we are full (like a pitcher of water) then whatever is added to the pitcher is the overflow. So when my husband is home on time, it is the overflow, when he’s late, I’m still full so it does not take away from my fullness.

“and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19). When we understand and know the love of God, this is what will fill our lives to the fullness of God. Is there anything fuller than that?

1. The first step in investing in our marriage is to seek our happiness and joy from the right source.

Lord, today I pray for marriages. Help us to invest wisely in our marriages by first allowing you to work in us your fullness. Help us to bring ourselves to you so that you can accomplish in us what needs to be accomplished. Help us to find our source of joy and happiness in our fellowship with you. When we do, then we have much to offer in marriage. Amen.