Friday, April 19, 2013

Help in the Midst of Trouble

 Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Occasionally we will have a week where we are confronted with one trial after another. This week has been such for me. The combination of headline grabbing tragedies that have been rampant, difficulties at work, challenges at home, and the everyday battle with my own flesh has been overwhelming at times over the last several days. Compared to the burdens of others, my problems are minor. But they are problems nonetheless.

What a comfort to know that we have both a refuge and a source of strength in the midst of our troubles! We have a friend in Jesus who has the power to both protect and empower us to endue the difficulties of life. No other individual can provide such to us. I am thankful for the few dear friends that I have that would do anything to help me if I were in trouble. Yet their assistance is limited. Distance, lack of resources, lack of understanding, etc. naturally limit what they can do for me. I also have the same shortcomings as I try to minister to others. But such does not limit Jesus.

Our Savior has unlimited availability. He is omnipresent. He is always available. Therefore he is a present help in time of trouble. We can call out to him in prayer at any moment and he is available. He has the power to protect us. Sadly, I have tried to minister to individuals who were in such trouble that I was powerless to assist them. Not so with our Lord. In this Psalm, David said that the Lord is our refuge though the earth be removed. That is complete power! In addition to protection, the Lord also gives us strength. In reality, we do not have what takes to endure the trials of life. We are weak. We are fragile. We are sinful. Yet by the grace of God, we can fight the good fight of faith in the midst of manifold trials and tribulations.

The Apostle Paul concurred with the Psalmist. He constantly dealt with both Jews and Gentiles that sought his life. Yet he pressed on with joy and encouraged others to stand fast in the Lord. How on earth was he able to maintain such faith in the midst of so much trouble? He remembered where to look for refuge and strength and understood that Christ was a very present help in trouble!

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Wherever we find ourselves this morning I pray that we will pause and remember this profound thought. Sometimes troubles come from outside difficulties. Sometimes they are of our own making. Either way we have protection and power in Jesus.


Michael D. Green, Jr.
Fort Wayne Primitive Baptist Church

Thursday, April 11, 2013

True Friendships

1 Samuel 18:1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

Deep and meaningful friendships are a rare occurrence in our day. We now live in the Facebook age that gives the appearance of having friends, but generally consists of mere acquaintances.  The reality is that at best most of us only have a few close friendships with others.

Such was not the case with Jonathan and David. It appears that they grew close soon after David slew the giant Goliath. David had brought the head to the king and had exemplified courage and conviction that was lacking amongst the leaders and warriors of Israel during that time. David witnessed the blasphemy and mockery of this wicked Philistine and asked the question, “Is there not a cause?” He confronted the giant with the confidence that God would deliver. And God did.

The Bible states that their souls were knit together. Jonathan loved David like he loved himself. Some have wrongfully tried to make this friendship into a perversion. It is an example of two men of faith and love for the Lord ministering to one another. This is something deeply needed in our society today.

Many relationships are based on how others can benefit us. We make alliances with those who can provide material success or popularity. We make superficial connections with those who make us feel better about ourselves or the sheer numbers of so-called friends somehow increases our value as a person. These are not enduring friendships! We need to more focus our energy on more substantial relations such as Jonathan and David. Their friendship was not selfish, but mutually encouraging.

When faced with the difficulties of life it is a blessing to have another person that will be there regardless of circumstances. We all need a Jonathan in our lives that will walk arm-in-arm with us in the midst of the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.  Solomon later wrote:

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the high numbers of people struggling with hopelessness and depression today is the lack of meaningful friendships that bear one another’s burdens. Both David and Jonathan were to face numerous troubles. What a blessing that they did not endure them alone. Lord help us to find at least one other person that we can knit our souls with. We need the godly support and encouragement of others as we navigate life’s journey.


Michael D. Green, Jr.
Fort Wayne Primitive Baptist Church

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Wisdom and Understanding

Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

The self-help industry is a huge business in our nation. Billions of dollars are spent to buy the latest and greatest book on whatever issue one might encounter. Some of these resources have merit and are useful tools for navigating through the difficulties of life. Others are not worth the paper on which they were printed! We all have a responsibility exercise diligence with such. Whatever assistance such resources might offer, we must remember that they will never offer perfect counsel. One must eat the watermelon and spit out the seeds.

But there is one guide that we can trust fully. That is the word of God. The King of Kings has provided the ultimate authority on how we should conduct ourselves as His people. Some will argue that the Bible does not specifically address every issue that one might confront. This is true, but God had provided guidelines that indeed apply to every issue that one might encounter in this world.
Job teaches that true wisdom starts with fearing the Lord. The world as a whole is systematically trying to eradicate God from every avenue of life. We observe this in many civic and educational institutions. This has been going on for many years now! In light of Job’s proclamation is there any wonder that our society is so ‘dumbed down’ today. We have neglected the fountainhead of wisdom.

He also exclaims that understanding is demonstrated by a departure from evil. This is indeed a timeless truth. One of the catalysts of the downfall of all great nations is the cultural move towards and endorsement of gross immorality. Unfortunately, this appears to be the current trend in our own great nation.
But this does not have to be so! If we would simply return to God’s instruction book, The Bible, we would find the solution to the problems that plague our current way of life. Paul emphasized the blessings of the word of God to Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Most homes have easy access to God’s word, yet how often is it neglected? It is complete. It is inerrant. Lord help us to dig out the truths of Scripture such as the ones exalted by Job. It was a comfort to him in the midst of great difficulty. I am certain that it will benefit us also!


Michael D. Green, Jr.
Fort Wayne Primitive Baptist Church