Three Anchor Truths In the Middle of the Storm

Sub02062.jpg

Lately I have found myself repeatedly singing,

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, in the eye of the storm.  (Ryan Stevenson)

The trials and hardships of life, others and mine, at times seem to be so burdensome, numerous, and troubling.

How do we press on in the eye of the storm?  How do we stay afloat?  As I pondered these things, three anchor truths came to mind that can be your stay in the middle of the storm.

#1 Christ suffered, bled and died for me and my sins.

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

When I consider the pain of my trial, I must look to Christ Who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself (Hebrews 12:3) to save me from my greatest crisis.  What is my greatest crisis?  The answer: How do I save myself from going to hell because I am a sinner?  Since Jesus Christ took care of my greatest crisis and the tomb is empty, He will enable me to make it through any other crisis.

#2 Christ’s resurrection gives me blazing hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Hope in the New Testament is a…

  • blessed hope (Titus 2:13)
  • joyful hope (1 Thess. 2:19; Rom. 12:12)
  • comforting hope (1Thess. 4:13-18)
  • hope of glory (Col. 1:27)
  • anchoring hope (Heb. 6:19)

“When a Christian truly understands the hope he has in Christ, it results in a steadfast sense of security and stability.” (Gene Getz) 

#3 Being in Christ promises me an awesome future!

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 20:1-4)

Jesus, being God and having been in a boat in the eye of a storm (Mark 4:35-41), is the only true Anchor for life, trouble, sorrow, persecution, misunderstanding, questions, death, pain, sin, etc.

That Dimmed Look

dementia

There she sat, all prettied up, seated in her comfy chair, and a silent stare etched on her sweet face and a dimmed look in her eye.  The TV was playing on old rerun of Gunsmoke. When I entered the room, she lifted her clouded eyes and smiled a bit, but she did not recognize me.

I knelt down on one knee beside her, greeted her warmly, and began a conversation that was mostly one-sided.  She handed me something that was very real to her but only imaginary to me. That dimmed look was one of struggle as she tried to put words together to form a sentence, but she could only mumble a few recognizable words at best.  She called me by another name, “Mr. Gilbert,” which reminded me of the many years of hearing her say, “Well, there’s my pastor!”

That dimmed look, eyes a bit foggy, soon was changed.  As I began to quote Psalm 23, she joined me word-for-word and her countenance was lifted.  Then I began to sing How Great Thou Art to which she chimed in.  Her precious, melodic soprano voice was clear and precise. Our duet continued through two stanzas of Amazing Grace and one verse of In the Garden.

When we finished our mini-concert of praise, I had prayer with her.  She hugged me, kissed my cheek, and thanked me for coming to see her, once again struggling to put words together. As I headed for the door, she returned to her dimmed look with that bit of a silent stare.

As I walked down the hallway, I couldn’t help but think about what came to her mind so readily and caused her dimmed look to be one of hope-filled anticipation. She probably learned Psalm 23 as a child and has sung those songs for years because of her personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ alone.

If I were in her shoes . . . would I have the same response?  Have I filled my mind with whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise-worthy (Philippians 4:8)?  Have the praises of God and His Word been my meditation (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 19:14; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) while I still have the capability to do so?  Or is my mind filled with worry, fretting, anxiety, fear, lies, lust, bitterness, useless trivia, and “breaking news”?

In time her memory will totally fade unless the Lord calls her Home before then.  But in the meantime, that dimmed looked is brightened when the chords of her heart are reminded of what really matters . . . the eternal things, the Eternal One  . . . the One she will see and know forever when her faith becomes complete sight.  No more dimmed look.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

 

My Savior First of All

When my lifework is ended and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

Chorus:
I shall know Him, (I shall know Him,) I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand;
I shall know Him, (I shall know Him,) I shall know Him
By the print of the nails in His hand.

2 Oh, the soul-thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace,
That prepared for me a mansion in the sky.

—- Fanny Crosby

A Broken Down Shuttered House

Recently while visiting with a dear saint of God, I listened as she reminisced about her old home place and said, “The last time I was there, the house was run down and the grass had grown up around it.  Why, it didn’t even look like it used to.  Even the church I attended is not as pretty as it used to be, and they only have one or two services a month.”  As I sat there looking at what age and the curse of sin had done to this dear lady, pinching its wrinkles in her face, causing her to use a walker for stability, and making her wish for times of fellowship at church and in town with her friends, this passage of Scripture  came to my mind.

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:1-8)

While listening, I could not help but notice the twinkle in her eye accompanied by the precious smile etched on her face as she recounted days gone by.  Within moments, she said, “So many people are unhappy these days.  Me? I’m happy.  I’m content.  I’m ready to go Home whenever the Lord is ready to call me.”  It did my heart good to listen to the lilt in her voice and to see her God-prepared confidence that someday soon she would exchange the old broken down shuttered house for a glorified habitation not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Tom & Roger

March 18, 2007, I stood on the parcel of ground where Oak Ridge Baptist Church is now located.  There, Pastor Tom Craig, Pastor Gary Ledbetter and myself gathered in prayer for the future construction of their church building.  As we joined our expectant hearts together before the Throne of Grace, we asked God to do a mighty work for His glory.  God answered our prayers as well as the prayers of a host of others. Not only was the building constructed, but greater still, lives were and continue to be transformed and built for God’s glory.  Tom was sure that would happen.  He discipled, loved, cared, and ministered the Word of God with grace and balance.

Interesting enough, that March 18th morning, another individual who impacted Gary’s and my life through his music, Roger Bennett, passed into the presence of the Lord after a long bout with leukemia.  The connection with Roger and his ministry team, Legacy Five, was the primary purpose for Gary and I being in Oak Ridge that weekend.  I remember walking into the Hampton Inn to meet Gary and his family on that Friday afternoon.  There in the front lounge area was Tom and Bobby cheering on their UT Vols in the college basketball tournament!  How surprised he was to see us.  He thought he had missed some conference in the area.  🙂

Tom and Roger, two men from two completely different ministry orbits, but today in the presence of the Lord! Both involved in a journey with cancer now forever over. How thankful I am for those the Lord brings into our lives to edify, encourage, exhort, and enjoy!  Thank you, Tom, for being such a man.  Gary and I will continue to sing and preach the Word until we join you on the other side.  Until then, My Hope Is Jesus.

Nothing Ever Can, Nothing Ever Will

After a long week of sharing my heart and hopefully some help concerning the subject of suicide, I want to end the week on a high note; a note of hope; a note of promise!  We have been singing this song in our congregation since the middle of June.  The lyrics have stirred our hearts, given us hope, and pointed us continually to Jesus Christ!  Rejoice in the truths, raise your hands in praise, and drop to your knees in submission to our God Who always wins!!  Worship here: Nothing Ever Can, Nothing Ever Will

 

“Nothing Ever Can, Nothing Ever Will”

Ross King

1) Every power on earth and in heaven

Is a shadow in His light,

No authority, law or government

Challenges His sovereign might.

 

His reign and rule have no boundary,

All that is, His hands have wrought.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord our God.

 

2) We are well aware we were orphans once,

Bent and broken in our shame,

Then He sought us out and adopted us,

Now we bear His royal name.

 

Every sin or crime we have ever done

Is no match for Jesus’ blood.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

 

3) We are rescued out of darkest night,

Freed from Satan’s evil hold

And the kingdom of our Savior’s light

Is our soul’s eternal home.

 

Though the enemy tries to steal and kill

What the death of Christ has bought

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

 

Bridge

Our God is victorious,

He always wins! He always wins!

In love He reigns over us,

He always wins! He always wins!

Our God is victorious,

He always wins! He always wins!

In love He reigns over us,

He always wins! He always wins!

 

4)  We, the Church, declare: Jesus Christ is King,

For He conquered death once for all.

We will live in light of His victory

Following His gospel call.

 

And when the story ends we know Jesus wins,

For His power cannot be stopped.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

Nothing ever can, nothing ever will

Overcome the Lord, our God.

Laughter Gone

He made thousands and thousands of people laugh.  His quick wit, ability to play many roles, and stand-up comedy endeared him to the world of entertainment.  Sadly, his humor was often crass and ungodly. Today, the laughter is gone.

Robin Williams broke on the entertainment scene as an alien, Mork, in the 1978 TV series, Mork & Mindy with what became a household phrase of “Nanu-nanu.”  I remember my daughters loving his role as the comedic genie in the famous Disney film, Alladin.  He even appeared in the happy tune by Bobby McFarrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  As of yesterday, Williams will no longer be making people laugh; he has passed away.  The tragedy of this death is that it is being considered an apparent suicide.  Fox411 reported, “A representative for Williams said in a statement the actor had been battling ‘severe depression of late’.”

No matter what you thought of Robin Williams, death by suicide is oh so sad.  Tragic.  Bewildering.  Selfish. Sinful.  Wrong.

There are many things that I would love to say from a burdened heart, but suffice it to say that we as believers need to realize afresh and anew, we are living in a world of hopeless people!!  For a successful man to take his life when he had everything earthly he would need says that he lacked hope.

Hope is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ! Read the following with an attentive heart:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.— Jeremiah 29:11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead—1 Peter 1:3

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.—Romans 5:1-11

Hope (assurance, confidence) that is eternal, persevering, faithful, not disappointing, productive, and full of grace is found only in a personal relationship with the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the foundation, giver and sustainer of hope.  He is hope. A man without Jesus Christ is hopeless . . . forever.

For those of us secure in Christ because of the aforementioned truths of Scripture, we must share the good news of hope to a hopeless world!  We have the Truth that liberates (John 8:32).  Christ in us is the hope of glory, and He resides in us giving us hope for all of our earthly days (Colossians 1:27).

For those of you who are searching for hope in a world of empty happiness, I ask that you read the Scripture passages given in this post and turn to Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.  Today you can repent which means to turn away from all you have been trusting in to get you to Heaven, and receive Jesus Christ as Your Savior today (Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 10:9-13).  For the believer, no matter what his circumstances may be, each day is getting better because he is closer to his eternal home, Heaven.  Hope gets brighter each day!

Laughter produced by Robin Williams is gone.  Hope is not.

 

For further help in finding and understanding this everlasting hope, watch this 11 minute film: The Gospel