G4-Where Does My Help Come From?

SCRIPTURE TEXT:

PSALM 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.


BIG PICTURE

Psalm 121:1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?

Where do I look for help? In the high places, the mountains? In the Old Testament, before the Israelites built Jerusalem, they would worship God in the high places (see John 4:20).

So where do I look for help? I look for help, not in the high places, but in the One who created the high places!

What kind of God do we have? How do we know we can trust in His promises?

BREAKTHROUGH POINTS

1. The One who will help you created heaven and earth

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

We can be assured because the One who promises to help had the power to create heaven and earth. That same power can be used on your problems! Are your problems as large as heaven or earth? No! If Our Lord can handle heaven and earth, then certainly He has the power to handle our problems!

2. The One who will never let your foot slip never sleeps

Psalm 121:3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;

If He never sleeps, then He watches over us 24/7. If He promised to not let your foot slip, then He promised to do it 24/7! Even those who love you – your mom, or dad, or wife, or husband, cannot be there 24/7. They cannot watch over you 24/7, but God is there! He protects us 24/7!

3. The One who watches over you controls the moon and the sun

Psalm 121:6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

He watches over you because He loves you. And if He controls the moon and the sun, how can our problems compare? How much power He has! He has power over our problems, over our situations, and even over the people who give us problems.

4. The One who will keep you from all harm watches over your coming and going

Psalm 121:7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going…

He is concerned about every detail of your life, about your schedules and activities. He knows when a sparrow falls [Matthew 10:29]; He counts every hair on your head [Luke 12:7] – He is a God of details. And what is important to you is important to Him. What is precious to you is precious to God!

I remember about 7 years ago, I wanted to attend a worship service that was held every Monday night. My boss at the time refused to let me off early from work to go to this service. Instead of complaining to him (boss), I prayed to God to change my boss!

Well, less than a year after that, I had a new boss – who left work even earlier than the time I needed to leave. my old boss was transferred to a different division. Obviously, I was able to attend the worship service. Now, 2 bosses later, my current boss not only allows me to attend the service, but in fact urges me to go: “It’s Monday, aren’t you supposed to attend church? Go!”

What is important to me is important to God! Isn’t He wonderful?

BLESSED PROMISE

The One who preserves you promises to be there not just now but forevermore!

Psalm 121:7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.‭

We never outgrow our need for God.

He will never leave us nor forsake us! No matter where we are, no matter where we go – if we stick with Him, He will stick with us – forever!

PRAYER

Thank You Lord, that You always keep Your promises. Thank You for being there 24/7. Thank You for protecting me. Thank You that I can look to You for help with my problems. Thank You that You will stick with me forever! Amen and Amen!

 

G3-Why Praise God?

Acts 16:23-36 New International Version

23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. 35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”


PROBLEM:

Paul and Silas were jailed for preaching about Jesus. They were arrested, flogged, jailed, put in chains. The Greek word plege (verse 23)  means severely flogged, causing a deadly wound; a death-stroke. They were in severe pain, practically near death, in a dark and dirty jail. And yet they were still praying and singing hymns to God (verse 25). Why? What do they know that we don’t?

For us, what do WE do when we are “in chains”? When we are under pressure at work or at school, with family crises — when we are buried under our problems?

What do we get when we praise God?

1. Praise ushers us into God’s presence

Acts 16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

When we are ushered into God’s presence, it does not mean that God was not already there. It means that praise ushers us into an awareness of God’s nearness, it ushers us into belief, into an increase in faith. There are two people that I would like to quote because they explained it so much better.

John Piper says:

[Being in God’s presence] means that we taste or feel or realize the reality of God more directly, more authentically, more intimately, more effectively. In other words, his presence as we experience him is the heightening of his reality in our lives either for good, if we are in his grace, or for ill, if we are under his wrath.

James 4.8a Come near to God and he will come near to you.

These are invitations into the fuller, more intense, more certain, more joyful, more satisfying, more transforming experience of the reality of God.

Mark Roberts says:

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what it means to live all of the time in God’s presence. I’m not focusing on the fact that God is always present in my life. This is a given, a wondrous implication of God’s grace. He is always with me. But am I always with him? To be sure, since God is with me, then I am with him. But I am wondering not so much about this reality as I am about my awareness of it. Am I living each moment with a sense of God’s presence in my life?

Psalm 116:9 NLT And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!

Do we walk with an awareness of God’s presence every minute of every day? Do we even realize that every event in our lives is affected by how we perceive God? If you have not already done so, welcome God’s presence in your life today! Especially because …

2. Praise ushers us into God’s power.

Acts 16:26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

From Dale A. Robbins:

Paul and Silas knew the secret of how to lift their hearts above their troubles and enter into God’s presence and power. Through praise and worship their hearts were raised into the joyous presence and peace of God, and provided God a channel for his power to operate in their circumstances. God’s presence responds when we move upon Him with worship! Lifting up Jesus Christ through praise and worship invokes the Lord’s presence and power to flow in our midst.

There is power in true worship!

What are the prisons in our lives? What are the chains in our lives? God will break the walls of your prison; He will break the chains holding you back. He will shake the foundations of your life – your beliefs, your feelings, and your convictions.

God’s presence responds with power when we worship.

WHAT IS GOD’S PROMISE FOR US?

Praise ushers us into God’s pardon.

Acts 16:30-31 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Praise ushers us into God’s salvation! Paul and Silas said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved—you and your household!” (verse 31) The jailer took them to his house because he wanted them to preach to his family.

In verse 31, the Greek for household oikos can mean a household, a family, even a lineage, or a nation. God promises us that when we believe, we can pray for the salvation of our families (even our descendants and country-men!) and He will arrange circumstances so that they will have every opportunity to hear His word and be saved. He can even soften their hearts so that they will be more open to His message. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but it will happen!

Every Christian living today had someone pray for him/her to be saved – either a family member or a friend, but most often it is a parent, a grandparent or a child that prayed. I know someone who was a drug addict during his teens until his thirties, but his parents and sibling prayed for him, and he was saved! He is now drug-free (over 20 years) and is a lay pastor in his church.

That is the power of God’s promise for each one of us! Let us claim the promise … and our household – even our descendants will be saved!

Praise the Lord!

G2-Why is God’s Presence wonderful?

PSALM 139

1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

PROBLEM:

Our scripture text was written by King David, most probably when he was made king of Israel. [Study Bible notes]

Who was David? He was the king of Israel (which then included present day Israel, and parts of Jordan and Syria), for 40 years. He was considered the greatest king of Israel. Even in current day Israel, no other king is celebrated as much as David.

This psalm was the prayer of a king who had a lot of enemies, even the previous king (Saul) wanted to kill David. Now that he is king, he faced even more enemies. And this psalm showed that David got his strength and confidence from the Lord.

If a king derived his strength and confidence from God, how about us: our problems are not as heavy or as large as a king’s, shouldn’t we also derive our strength and confidence from the same source?

Why is God’s presence wonderful? Let me list the ways:

 1. We are not alone because YOU are there.

Psalm 139:5-6   5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

When I first read this Psalm, it scared me. How about you, were you also scared? We cannot escape from God, no matter where we go, even in the dark we cannot get away from Him. We cannot escape Him even in our thoughts! He knows what my thoughts are before I even understand it!

But when I really knew God, I loved that He was there. In fact, it was better for me that He was there, than not there. I treasured His presence with me, surrounding me, within me. That is why David said in verse 6 that “such knowledge is too wonderful for me” -– because God never left him, that presence was wonderful for David, and he praised God for it. And David considered God’s thoughts as precious things (verse 17) –- because God was thinking of him. And He is thinking of me! Thinking of each and everyone of us!

 2. We are not abandoned because YOU are there.

Psalm 139:18b …When I awake, I am still with you.

Whether we are awake or asleep, the Lord is with us. If we believe in Jesus, then we are a child of God. And no matter what we do, no matter how badly we behave, He will never leave us or abandon us. Even in the worst situations, even when it is our fault, we can call to God for help — without condemnation, without finding fault. Isn’t that wonderful? Doesn’t that give you strength and confidence?

 3. We are not afraid because YOU are there.

Psalm 139:12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

How can I be afraid? I am not alone, I am not abandoned, and even in the darkness the Lord is there. He can see us as clearly in the dark as thought we were in the light, which means that He cannot lose us in the dark. Even Satan (lord of darkness) cannot hide us from God! Nothing can harm us in the dark when we are with the Lord. He will protect us in the dark, as He protects us in the light. Even in the darkest situations, we can call to Him for help.

Don’t be afraid! Fear is forbidden!

WHAT IS GOD’S PROMISE FOR US?

 We are awesome because we are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Psalm 139:13-14  13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

We are God’s special creation; each of us is unique –- no two persons are exactly alike, even identical twins will have differences. God created each and everyone of us differently, each of us with a unique set of gifts and talents. He planned each of our glorious destinies before we were even born! Why try to be like someone else, when we are made to be unique!

In verse 14, it says that all God’s works are wonderful, and we are God’s work, which means each of us is wonderful, uniquely wonderful –- we are fearfully and wonderfully made!

PRAYER:

Lord, forgive us when we try to drive You away, when we try to hide from You. Help us welcome You in our thoughts, in our hearts. Help us realize that we are not alone, that we are not abandoned. Teach us to not be afraid, no matter what situation we are in. Help us remember that we can turn to You for help, even in our darkest hour, even in the worst situations.

Help us remember that our strength and confidence comes from You. Help us love ourselves, unique and not like anyone else. Remind us that we are wonderfully distinct and that each of us have our own gifts and talents. Remind us that You love us! Lord, open our hearts, our minds, and even our eyes, our ears to Your presence, so that we can feel Your love, Your comfort and Your grace. Through the glorious Name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 

G1-Why God’s Love Is So Amazing

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV  17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

PROBLEM:

Paul wrote the letter to the church at Corinth because the gospel he was teaching was being questioned.  He wanted to prove the validity of his message. He wanted them to understand the gospel: the heart and the passion of the gospel. Even today, most people don’t understand how great God’s love is for them.

The new mantra in the world today is “truth is relative.” We are exposed to so many different teachings, that we can become confused as to what is real and what is true. But God wants us to know the truth, and He used to Paul to help us.

 PRINCIPLES:

  1. God reconciles. What God is doing

2 Cor 5:18-19  18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

The verb reconcile in Greek is katallássō (“decisively changed, reconciled“). This means not just the transformation of a person, but there must also be a change of relationship with God. In addition, decisively changed implies a conscious decision to change – and the time is now.

The noun reconciliation in Greek is katallage  (“reconciliation, restoration to favor”), the “reconciliation (restoration) as the result of Christ exactly (precisely) exchanging His righteousness (blood) for our guilt“. In sin, we were out of favor with God, but in Christ we are restored to His favor.

  1. God appeals. What God is feeling

2 Cor 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

God has compassion for us, which is why He is appealing to us. The definition of appeal – heartfelt request, shows God’s love for us. Even the word implore – begging, pleading earnestly or insistently – shows God reaching down to us, humbling Himself for us.

Paul wants to bring God closer to us, who are God’s people. He wants us to feel the heart of God, His deep desire for us – His children.

PROMISE:

God restores. What God will do for you

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! …21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Before we became Christians, we were sinful and considered as enemies of God. But now we have the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. All the teachings and the knowledge in this world cannot make us a new creation, only Jesus can make us a new creation.

Jesus is our Redeemer: (ransom, pay for our debts: tubos, tinutubos ang utang mo). Our sin was given to Jesus and in exchange, we received the righteousness of God.

Can you understand God’s great love for us? Love so amazing! God planned it all (2 Cor 5:21), imagine what He had to do to His Son to show His love for us. Those of you who are parents feel pain when your children are hurt. Think of His pain at sending Jesus to us. Can you even comprehend how God felt knowing that He was sending His Son to certain death?

Let us remember the Great Exchange: Instead of judgment, we receive the restoration to His favor. Let us remember God’s great love for us.

God loves you!