Pastor's Notebook


Dear Friends in Christ-

 In July, I have continued to speak on the Psalms appointed for the Sunday. July 26th was Psalm 125. Please read it. I made a few points: 1) From verses 1-2: we who trust in the Lord are eternally secure in our salvation. We are surrounded and protected by God, in His Church, in the Body of Jesus Christ. "The gates of hell will not overcome" God's church, and those within! Cf. Matthew 16:18; Cf also this story 2 Kings 6:8-17)


2) We are so secure because God Himself has chosen us to be His own. This is pure grace! There was nothing in us that caused Him to Love us. As God chose one man, Abraham, to make the nation of Israel, so through Abraham comes the Savior, God in the Flesh, Jesus, to be the One Man from whom all blessings flow. God is always faithful to His Choice of us in Jesus! (cf. Deuteronomy 7:6-9; Romans 8: 28-30 )


3) From verse 3: God will not allow His own to be tempted beyond what they can bear from the wickedness of this world. He will deliver us from evil, even as we pray in the Lord's Prayer. In this world there is tribulation, as Jesus said, and only in Him is there "peace." (Cf. John 16:33; Romans 8:35.)


4) If God didn't give us a way out of temptation, or lessen the effects of wickedness upon His own, we might become wicked ourselves and do wrong (Cf. Matthew 24:22). It is sinfully "natural" for us to want to strike back if someone strikes us on the cheek. This sinfully "natural" reaction resides in me, and all of us! That's the opposite of what the Righteous One, Jesus, said! (Cf. Matthew 5:39.) Even living in a world of wickedness can oppress the believer so that we might succumb to the world and its ways, and become a part of it, joining in its wickedness and wrongness. God does not want that for us! There is a time that God, in His gracious working out of our protected lives, will bring us out of the tribulation(s) by our own physical death. But even death does not separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Cf. Romans 8: 39


5) From verse 4: A prayer we should all pray for other Christians! "Do good, O LORD, to those who are good and to those who are upright in their hearts." Here the definition of "good" is "those upright in their hearts." It is another way of saying those who trust in the Lord, believers, those who love Him, those who are chosen by God, predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, called by the Gospel, justified and glorified (Cf. Romans 8: 28-30).


We Christians pray for the household of faith, as we have opportunity (Cf. Galatians 6:10). I gave Huma Younus as an example for whom we can pray. (You may google this to read more about her: Huma Younus). She is a young Pakistani Christian girl who was kidnapped by a Muslim man, forcibly married, forcibly "converted," and now expecting a baby. Her parents are trying to work for her release in the Pakistani court system. It doesn't look promising. I said that I do not know how our Lord may "do good" for Huma, but I trust Him to work it all out. And that is exactly what God promises to do! "For those who love God all things work together for good," Romans 8: 28.


The church is a praying church—even as Jesus intercedes continually for us. News items, our families, special requests from other Christians, will give us so many things to pray for! How dear to know that people you haven't met, who are of the "household of faith," are praying to our Lord for Him to "do good" to you!


6) From verse 5: This is what happens to those who do not trust in the Lord. Their outcome is eternally different! Notice that verse 5 is not a prayer. That is, we Christians do not want nor pray for any one to go to hell. Yet, that is what will happen to all who go on "their crooked ways." They are evildoers. In biblical speak, these are those who do not keep our Lord's commandments, nor abide in His love. One who trusts in the Lord shows his trust and love by keeping the commands of our Lord, and the first commandment is to believe in Him! (Cf. John 15:7, 10, 12-14; 1 John 5:1-5; Deuteronomy 7:9). A non-believer is on a "crooked way" that leads not to eternal salvation, but eternal suffering, the fiery furnace, aka hell. (Cf. Matthew 13:47-50).


I admitted during my talk on Psalm 125 that my initial sinful "natural" reaction was not to want the best for the Muslim man who kidnapped Huma. I felt anger and wanted to strike back. Often we think that this is justice. Yet, God is not blind to what goes on. He will rectify all, in His time and ways. But, too often, I (I can't speak for you, but you can think about your own self) when I hear of injustices, I want to be judge, jury and executioner. I can become a doer of "wrong" (Psalm 125:4). So, I repent of such wrong. And then I remember what I can do for those not of the "household of faith." I can pray for them to be converted! I can pray that Muslim man become a Christian. Who knows what God can do when we pray "do good, O LORD, to those who are good."


And so I mentioned another little girl, also a believer in the One True LORD. I don't know her name, but God does. And a saint called Naaman does as well! Read about her story here: 2 Kings 5:1-14, especially notice verse 2, that she, like Huma, was taken captive! Good can indeed come out of injustice and wickedness. An unbeliever can become a believer! We, like this little unnamed girl from the bible, can do good by always pointing others to where Peace is to be found. "Peace be upon Israel!" (cf. Galatians 6:16.) That is, Peace be upon the Church of God in Christ Jesus, of which you, dear Friends, are safe and secure members living by trust/faith under the protection of the Lord!


                                                                                                  Pastor Engler





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