Spiritual Heartburn


Before we get into our Scripture reading; I want to make some random comments about this Psalm 39. It is a Psalm of David and there seems to be a close association with Psalm 38 where David’s sin literally made him sin. Sin makes us sin so that we will become “sick of sin.” We do not know what David’s physical ailment was; only that it caused him to suffer. It is out of this same context that he wrote Psalm 39. I want you to keep this in mind as we read the scripture.

Although I am not a great public reader, I am going to read this brief Psalm from two different translations today. I invite you to open your bible to Psalm 39.

Psalm 39 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

39 I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, and my sorrow grew worse.
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:
“Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.
“Behold, You have made my ways as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

7 “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.
“Deliver me from all my transgressions; Make me not the reproach of the foolish.
“I have become mute, I do not open my mouth,
Because it is You who have done it.

10 “Remove Your plague from me; Because of the opposition of Your hand I am perishing.
11 “With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity;
You consume as a moth what is precious to him;
Surely every man is a mere breath.

12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner like all my fathers.

13 “Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again before I depart and am no more.”

Psalm 39 New Century Version (NCV)

39 I said, “I will be careful how I act and will not sin by what I say. I will be careful what I say around wicked people.”
So I kept very quiet. I didn’t even say anything good, but I became even more upset.
I became very angry inside, and as I thought about it, my anger burned. So I spoke:
“Lord, tell me when the end will come and how long I will live. Let me know how long I have.
You have given me only a short life; my lifetime is like nothing to you. Everyone’s life is only a breath. 
People are like shadows moving about. All their work is for nothing; they collect things but don’t know who will get them.

“So, Lord, what hope do I have? You are my hope.
Save me from all my sins. Don’t let wicked fools make fun of me.
I am quiet; I do not open my mouth, because you are the one who has done this.
10 Quit punishing me; your beating is about to kill me.
11 You correct and punish people for their sins; like a moth, you destroy what they love. Everyone’s life is only a breath. 

12 “Lord, hear my prayer, and listen to my cry. Do not ignore my tears. I am like a visitor with you. Like my ancestors, I’m only here a short time.
13 Leave me alone so I can be happy before I leave and am no more.”


Here is my dilemma, how do I organize my thoughts in such a way that you will understand the message and be able to carry with you.

Why don’t we begin in the middle at verse 7…

7 “So, Lord, what hope do I have? You are my hope.

The NIRV puts it this way…LORD what can I look forward to now? I think this is a good question.

~I know young teenagers who are looking forward to getting their drivers license and a car.

~I know young people who are looking forward to graduation/high school or college.

~I know young couples looking forward to building a house.

~I know middle aged couples who are looking forward to an empty nest.

~I know some folks looking forward to retirement.

It is easy and natural for young people to look forward but what does an 85 year old in the nursing home look forward to? What does a person with failing health look forward to? What does a person who contacts this dreadful virus have to look forward to.

This is the question I want to answer in this message…

This is a very practical Psalm about the harsher realities of life…First…

[1] Sin has consequences

David has looked in the mirror…verses 10-11

Quit punishing me; your beating is about to kill me.
11 You correct and punish people for their sins; like a moth, you destroy what they love. Everyone’s life is only a breath. 

James Moffatt’s translation…

You chastise mortal man, eating away his comeliness like a moth.

What on earth is comeliness. It is the opposite of homeliness. Comeliness is our physical attractiveness. When I look in the mirror, I know the moths are at work.

In the midst of this bad news, I have some good news: even in this chastisement or discipline; God is working in our favor by destroying all our idols. That could be your appearance, your wealth, your status: it could be sports or pleasure. If you are God’s child He is going to crush your idols one after the other until all you have left is Jesus.

So David is experiencing heartburn, anguish, pain, distress, sorrow and all because of his sins. This is why he prayed in verse 8, “Deliver me from my transgressions.” The NLT reads, “Save me from my rebellion.” The best advice I can give you is OBEY THE LORD be blessed.

Thomas Brooks

Where God loves, He afflicts in love and whomever God afflicts in love learns a lesson that will last for eternity.

Steven Lawson

True love is tough love. Real love is that which seeks the highest and best for the one who is loved.


David tried to bottle everything up, repress his guilt and anxiety. Whereas it is wise not to blow your cork around the unrepentant; it is not wise to keep everything in side. It caused David heart burn, spiritual heart burn.

He was determined to keep it all in, but his thoughts were like kindling on fire and his inner being got so hot he had to vent.


It reminds me of the young preacher who wanted the older preach to teach him how to pray fervently. The old preacher told him, you have to find the right place. “Where is the right place” the young preacher ask. Follow me and I will show. The old preacher left his office and started down a path in the woods. After a mile or so, the young preach said, “Are we there? I want to pray.” “Not yet,” said the old preacher and he kept going. After another mile or so, the young preacher said, “I can’t go much further, I have a burden to pray.” “We are not there yet,” said the old sage. Another mile or so and the young preacher said, “I can’t go any further I have to pray.” The old preacher smiled and hit his knees– “We are here–This is the spot,” He said.

David held it as long as he could be then he had to get alone with God and let it out. “Oh the needless pain we bear simple because we do not take it to the LORD in prayer.”


“Lord, tell me when the end will come and how long I will live. Let me know how long I have.
You have given me only a short life; my lifetime is like nothing to you. Everyone’s life is only a breath
People are like shadows moving about. All their work is for nothing; they collect things but don’t know who will get them.

~Life is fleeting—NRSV reads “Help me to know how fleeting life is.” Fleeting is an adjective that describes something that happens really fast.

~Life is frail—Many of us are just a virus away from departing this world. I’ve seen strong men’s health and stamina broken over night

~Life can even be Futile—David said, All their work is for nothing; they collect things but don’t know who will get them. That world nothing is the same word translated vanity in Ecclesiastes. What is vanity? An old preacher said, “Vanity is what you have left when you burst a soap bubble.”


What are you living for? What are your primary goals? What do you pray for most often?

More wealth…I certainly hope not, it is a soap bubble. In the end your wealth is worth nothing. It is a bubble, a phantom, an illusion. It has no value in heaven. Its a bad analogy but it illustrates the point: an old miser had his assets converted to goal and buried with him. When he got to the guardian angels at the pearly gates they asked him if they could examine his brief case. They opened and saw the bars of gold then looked at him in dismay and said, “You brought us pavement.”

Folks we are living is days of uncertainty. I don’t know anymore about the virus than you do. My first response was…“The world has gone nuts…it is the flu for Pete’s sake.” BUT the closer it gets, the more anxious I become. I am afraid the worse is yet to come. I am not trying to scare you but I am telling you that life is FUTILE unless you know Jesus.

Back to verse 7 where we started: “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. All my eggs are in one basket JESUS. I don’t trust the medical industry, the world of science and research. and I sure don’t put any hope in the media or politicians. Only Jesus can give us forgiveness, peace, love, purpose and heaven. My faith is in HIM.


Why Do Christians Suffer

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.


I want to share with you today, SEVEN REASONS why God allows us to suffer. There may be more but these are seven that I have seen in scripture and my life.

You may not need this message today but you will need it eventually because life is a series of storms and sooner or later you will find yourself in the midst of a storm.


“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” [2 Cor. 1:4]

Several years ago June [my wife] bought a Nissan Rouge. I had never seen a Rouge until that day; at least I had never noticed one. I had no idea they made such a vehicle. Then as we began driving this little SUV, I started seeing them everywhere. Has that ever happened to you? They were their all along but I didn’t notice them.

The same is true in regard to suffering: we have hurting people all around us and we do not even notice them– until we ourselves are hurt. It takes a person who has had a broken heart to spot a broken heart. Our heavenly Father is a God of tender mercy. Showing mercy is His default setting–He loves to show mercy and you and I have experienced His mercy as a precious gift but we do not know how to show it or share it until we have suffered. Once we suffer, we become sympathetic with others who suffer: we are equipped to give them the same quality of comfort that the LORD has given us.

This is why your ministry will come from your pain and failure more than from you success. It is always easier to relate to others when we understand what they are going through.


When ‘they’ are troubled, ‘we’ will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. [2 Cor. 1:4]

Who are your best friends? Those who have suffered with you.

I am not going to say I completely understand it but I have experienced it many times and I know it is true: when you come along side a family and suffer with them through a crisis; it forges a bond that will never be broken.

Preachers are very human and we make mistakes. I have made more than my share. A very wise man who helped mentor me in my formative years made this statement after the LORD called me to preach: he said, “Jack will never stay at one church more than three years.” After being at one church for more than 30 years, he said to me, “Jack, you made a liar out of me.” He laughed and so did I but I confessed…“You were not wrong in your assessment, it was the grace of God that kept me where I am for so long.” The grace of God and good friends. I would not have made it had it not been for the courage of one man in particular who came to my aid when I was practically defenseless. He put everything on the line to save my ministry and when I thanked him he said, “I didn’t do it just for you, I did it because it was the right thing to do.” It took me a while to put it together but a few years earlier, I had stood with him during a terrible loss and it had forged a bond between us. He was a true friend.


“Even when we are weighed down with troubles…” [v.6] We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure. [v.8]

Chuck Swindoll says for every 49 people who can handle failure, there is only one who can handle success. I concur! Failure and suffering has a way of bringing us down to earth. Paul was weighted down with trouble. The word picture in the Greek is of a beast of burden who is crushed beneath the load. Sometimes we get so loaded with the cares of this world, anxieties, stress, burdens, even guilt–we are literally crushed by the weight. SUFFERING crushes us like the grapes in a wine press. It brings us to the end of our resources and to our knees where we cry out for God’s help. We never pray more earnestly than when we suffer.


“We stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God.” [v.9]

Suffering is a crucible, a refiners fire, it burns up the chaff, separates the metal from the alloys, the impurities, the worthless; it purges out the dross. We all know that we are to live dead to self and alive to Christ but knowing and doing are two different things. Suffering can achieve in our lives what nothing else can do. It is a vital part of our sanctification. In order for Jack to decrease and Jesus increase [in my life], suffering is a necessity. I don’t enjoy suffering, I don’t pray for it to come but I do realize that God in His GRACE uses it to burn out the dross and to chip away at everything that is honoring to Christ.


And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us. [v.10]

I don’t want to be redundant, but suffering has a drawing power. Prosperity and success can lead us to drift away from Christ whereas suffering can draw us near. A young child got a new sail boat and carried it to the city park where there was a lake. He put his boat in the water but the wind quickly carried his boat beyond reach. He went to get the help of a teenager standing near by: the teenage picked up a few large rocks and started to through them in the direction of the boat: the little fellow began to beg…“No, no, no, I don’t want you to sink my boat, I want to get it back.” The kid brushed him aside and said, “You have to trust me.” With that he threw one of the large rocks a few feet beyond the boat and the waves from the rock began bringing the boat to shore. After repeating this process several times, the little boy was able to reach and get his boat.

The adversity that we think is going to sink us actually brings us closer to Christ.


The Israelite had to suffer bondage and oppression before they had a desire to leave Egypt. A farmer planned to burn a huge brush pile but when he went to burn, he discovered a birds nest in the rotten brush. He carefully moved the nest to another bush and then waited to see what would happen. When he got back to the brush pile a day or two later, the bird had built a new nest in the brush pile. So he pondered: she will not let me move her nest so how am I going to get her to move? Finally, he lined her nest with thorns and she found a new location.

We would get content with life here if there was no suffering. God puts a few thorns in our nest to give us a longing to live elsewhere. The older you get, the more you feel the thorns.


Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. [v.11]

I have been in the ministry for 51 years and I have never meet a truly thankful person who had not suffered a great deal. Younger generations seem spoiled and ungrateful. They want, want, want and are never satisfied with what they get…much of this is because they have not suffered. You cannot learn gratitude apart from suffering and you can never enjoy grace until you have gratitude. {Corrie ten Boom, thank God for the fleas}

Betsie and Corrie ten Boom were captured by the Nazi, arrested and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp near Berlin. Corrie smuggled a small bible into the camp. It became a drawing card and the women began a bible study in the back of the barracks. There constant fear was that the guards would come back, search their bunks and find the bible but they never came into the barracks. One of Betsie favorite verse was…

I Thessalonians 5:18

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

When Corrie would fuss about the fleas in the barrack, Betsie would rebuke her. Betsie was small and frail, Corrie was big and robust but Betsie called the shots. Corrie said, “I will not thank God for the fleas.” “Oh yes you will, said Betsie, “you must.” It was a battle but Betsie and Corrie bowed the stiff neck and gave God thanks for the fleas. Betsie’s frail body could not take the horrible conditions and she died in the camp on December 16 1944 but Corrie survived and later shared her story with the world. After the war had ended, she bumped into one of the guards who had been converted and she told him about the bible and the bible study. “Why did you never come into the barracks and check our bunks?” Corrie asked. He replied in a heartbeat, “The fleas.”

Sin Makes Me Sick

Psalm 38

A psalm of David, asking God to remember him.

O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage!
Your arrows have struck deep, and your blows are crushing me.
Because of your anger, my whole body is sick; my health is broken because of my sins.
My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins.
I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long I walk around filled with grief.
A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken.
8 I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart.

You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh.
10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails, and I am going blind.
11 My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease. Even my own family stands at a distance.
12 Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me. Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me. All day long they plan their treachery.

13 But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.
14 I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply.
15 For I am waiting for you, O Lord. You must answer for me, O Lord my God.
16 I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me or rejoice at my downfall.”

17 I am on the verge of collapse, facing constant pain.
18 But I confess my sins; I am deeply sorry for what I have done.
19 I have many aggressive enemies; they hate me without reason.
20 They repay me evil for good and oppose me for pursuing good.
21 Do not abandon me, O Lord. Do not stand at a distance, my God.
22 Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior.


David wrote four penitential Psalms, 6,32,38 and 51 and 32,38 and 51 deal with the same sin or sins: the adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah the Hittite. This is a lot for the conscience of one man to bear.

David’s sin made him sick literally and figuratively. His body was sick–he was unhealthy and his soul was sick–he was unhappy and his spirit was sick–he was unholy. Sin can make a man sick and can make a man sick of sin. When the prodigal came to his senses, he changed his mind about sin. In the beginning, he was fond of sin but in the end he realized how foolish is sin was; how utterly stupid.

Lets look at this Psalm briefly and see what sin does…


Verse 4…My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear.

We human were not created to carry guilt. Guilt can be overwhelming–it can destroy your peace and even drive you crazy. Lady Macbeth was complicit in the murder of king Duncan. The guilt of this murder drove Macbeth to madness and cruelty but it drove his wife to despair and she took her own life. Before here suicide, she is pictured washing her hands repeatedly, trying to remove the blood stains of guilt. Marcus Pontius Pilate was not an aristocrat: he came from the middle class. He wanted very much to impress his emperor Tiberius but three years after the death of Jesus he was recalled to Rome. Then he disappears, vanishes. No one knows what happened to him: one Christian traditions says that he was converted another says he was banished to the Island of Gaul where he went crazy; another tradition says he committed suicide. We don’t know what happened to him: I personally hope that he did get saved but I know this much–guilt can drive you crazy. Guilt can drive you to suicide–Judas is a good example.

Guilt is like the ice that collects and builds up on the wings of jets. You either do something about it or it will bring you down. Some folks repress it and that only makes it worse. The burden will eventually become too heavy to bear. This is a major problem in abortion. Not only does it take the life of the innocent child, eventually it will claim a second life, that of the mother. They were encouraged to suppress the grief and the guilt and it is the worse thing you can do. Eventually, there will be an emotional implosion, a complete melt down like Lady Macbeth or else a hard heart like her husband.

There is only one solution to guilt, give it to Jesus. He is the only remedy to guilt. The world cannot absolve your guilt.


Romans 6:23 states clearly, “The wages of sin is death.”

God told our first parents…And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

But you may think, “They didn’t die, not physically.” No but they died spiritually which is worse. Then day by day for as long as they lived, they had to observe death in everything around them all because of their rebellion. This included the death of their son Abel.

Mark my word, EVERY TIME WE SIN SOMETHING DIES. It could be an opt, a relationship, a few million brain cells but don’t kid yourself, sin kills. Would you sleep with a deadly viper or rattlesnake


Verse 11…My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease. Even my own family stands at a distance.

Social distancing is not new.

Isaiah 59…Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.


The devil uses sin to keep us at from God. He knew from the beginning that if he could get our parents to rebel, it would drive a wedge between them and God. Sin creates guilt and guilt causes us to separate ourselves from God. Our first parents hid from God because they felt guilty and ashamed. So he will do what ever it takes to keep you away from God.

During the days of the old South and the plantations comes the story of little boy who lived on the plantation. He was not a slave or a son: his father worked for the master of the estate. The master had a large pond at the back of the mansion and he had some beautiful swans that he enjoyed watching from his tower. He had strict rules about the welfare of these beautiful birds. One was that no rocks could be thrown into the pond. He even had a sign posted: no throwing rocks into pond. This little fellow could stand and late one evening, he gather some rocks and started throwing in the pond. Then he decided he would scare the swans so he threw one in their direction and hit one. It was a fatal blow to the head. He went out immediately and retrieved the body, but there was no life in the bird so he quickly dug a hole in the near by woods and buried the dead bird.

The next day he went through the kitchen to get a snack and the chief caught him by the shirt collar; “these floors need scrubbing,” he said. “But that is not my job,” said the young lad. The cook said, “I was watching you yesterday and I say you kill the Master’s swan, you will do what I say or I will have a talk with the master.” So the boy had to scrub the floors and it was something everyday: he literally became a slave of the cook and he had no time to play. His life became miserable.

Finally, his misery was so great that he climbed the stairs to the Master’s tower. He went in and began his confession. “I broke the rules Master and I killed one of your swans. I know I deserve to be punished and I am ready for whatever you think is right.”

The master said, “I was watching the day you killed my swan, I saw the whole thing from my vantage point right here in the tower.” “Why didn’t you come and get me and have me punished?” Said the boy. “Well,” said the master, I wanted to see how long you would go before confessing and I wanted to teach you a lesson.” “Have you learned from this experience?” Yes, said the kid so what is my punishment?” “I think you have suffered enough but don’t do it again,” said the master. Thank you sir, said the boy and off he went, right straight to the kitchen. The old cook started with his list of chores and the little fellow said, “No, I no longer have to serve you.” “I will tell the master,” said the old devilish cook. “Do as you like said the boy, but I have already told him everything and he has forgiven me.”

Comfort My People

25 “To whom will you compare Me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.


Isaiah is miniature bible with 66 chapters: the first 39 [Old Testament] speak of how Israel got into bondage–the second section 40-66 [27 chapters in NT] speak of hope, deliverance and salvation. This part of Isaiah contains those beautiful chapters about Jesus our suffering Servant.

Listen to the introduction of the second section beginning in Chapter 40 and verse one…

“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned.”

What You Need To Understand

[1] The Jews in exile were discouraged and questioning God: the captivity had put their faith to the test.

[2] They were questioning God: why did He allow the Babylonians {pagans} to defeat and enslave His own children. Shouldn’t God look out for his children. Were the Babylonian gods [idols] stronger than Israel’s God?

Now lets go back and read it again beginning in verse 25…

25 “To whom will you compare Me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

26 Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.
27 O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?
28 Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.
31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

Pay special attention to verse 28…Have you never heard or understood…Do you not know. In other words, Isaiah is asking–Where are you people getting your information–Who have you been listening to? It certainly was not the LORD.

Matter of fact, Isaiah said is chapter 59…

Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

That is the introduction: here is the message from the LORD…beginning in verse 28


The LORD, probably in small caps, is the sacred name Yahweh. It is the Hebrew word for being and usually translated I AM but it contains every tense of the verb…I AM that I AM or I AM because I AM…I AM since I AM. I AM what I AM…I AM what I have always been or I have always been who I am…I can go on and on. The black preacher said it best…The LORD is, He always has been is and He always will be is. I like the writing on the wall at the church in Decatur…Jesus Is!

God is the eternal, self-existent God who has no beginning and no end. From everlasting to everlasting He is God.


Isaiah reminds these discouraged Jews that the LORD is the CREATOR of the ends of the earth: He created the stars, marched them out like and army, knows exactly how many there are and knows them by name. How do you compare that to the Babylonians gods who are mere images, created by men and made of wood and metal. They have to be carried when they are moved. They can’t walk, talk, hear or see. They are worthless and impotent.


All human being have limits when it comes to energy and strength. Granted, some are stronger than others, some have more energy like the very young but God’s word reminds us here that even the young can become totally exhausted to the point of fainting.

Where do we get strength when we have no strength? In just a moment, I will answer this question.


Go back to Isaiah 40:13…Who knows the mind of the LORD…Who is able to advise the Spirit of the Lord? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice?

As I heard a black preacher say, “All this means is you can’t figure God out and when you can’t figure God out, you faith Him out.”

He is in absolute control and He sees both the beginning and the end: He knows exactly how the coronavirus is going to play out and He is the only one who KNOWS so look up.


Do you need strength? Do you feel tired, spent, worn out, exhausted? Don’t think just about physical exhaustion: how are you doing spiritually? Do you have an exhausted faith? Are you growing weary or afraid that God will not see you through.

When it comes to enduring faith, YOUTH is not an advantage. Those that have walked with the LORD over the years have seen their faith grow, especially during adversity and they, not the young, rely upon God’s strength and not their own. A young man might be tempted to fight this battle in his own strength but he or she will surely fail. As David, the veteran of many battles, said, “THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH AND MY SALVATION.”


I want to illustrate the truth of the message by making a comparison between a HORSE [majestic creature] and a MOUNTAIN [majestic creation].

Both are majestic but one is far greater than the other. However, it is possible that if you let the HORSE get between you and the mountain, you may not be able to see the mountain for the horse. God is the mountain and this world and its cares is the horse. Back away from the horse until you can see the mountain.

As Isabella Lilias Trotter wrote, Turn you eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

The Stark Reminder


Hebrews 9:27–It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. John Newton, the man who wrote Amazing Grace said just before he departed this world: I am leaving the land of the dying and going to the land of the living. He was right: everywhere you look in this world you see death. Lou has left this world of death and is now in the land of the living.


Job said:“How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble.

Moses said: Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.

David said: “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.  We are merely moving shadows.”

James said: “What is your life? You are a [vapor] mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 


I was 40 years old before the LORD revealed the truth to me: Relationships are always more valuable than riches. I’ve seen a lot of people put riches first and it leads to misery. John and Lou loved all three of you but now they are gone. If you want to honor them: keep loving each other.


I have lived on this earth for 70 years and I can tell you there is nothing in this world that will give you lasting satisfaction. Not one person under the sound of my voice is perfectly happy or at peace. There are many things that this world and the people in it cannot give you. God created us with needs and our greatest need is HIM. There is a J shaped hole in your inner being that only Jesus can fill.


Paul said in Philippians 1:21–For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. I translate the word ‘gain’ promotion…for me to live is Christ and to die is a promotion. Lou got an infinite upgrade. Don’t feel sorry for Lou. Our sorrow and grief should be for ourselves. We don’t know what’s going to happen down here but Lou is safe in the arms of Jesus.

This present crisis and Lou’s departure should help us understand how vital a relationship with Jesus is…He loved you and He died for you.

The Great Contrast

Psalm 36

For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord.

Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all.
In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are.
Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good.
They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is Your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

You feed them from the abundance of Your own house, letting them drink from Your river of delights.
For You are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

10 Pour out Your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.
11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around.
12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.


I do love the Psalms and you are probably weary of hearing me say so: I read them and study them daily. They help me in my praise and prayer life but they are also laced with great theology and I am anxious to show you something from Psalm 36. I want you to understand that we could approach this Psalm a hundred different ways and this is only one of many ways to look at this Psalm.

Steven Lawson, who I have heard in person and he was not impressive as a speaker but he is a great writer and I love reading his commentary. I want you to listen to his opening comments on this Psalm.

“There is no limit to the depth that depraved mankind will fall if he/she gives in to evil but no matter how wicked man becomes, God’s goodness is greater, ruling over all to accomplish His purpose.”

What we have is Psalm 36 is a CONTRAST between the utter sinfulness and depravity of man and the infinite goodness and greatness of God. In other words: Man can act really bad but God is infinitely good and His good is infinitely greater than man’s evil. God’s goodness, light the light will overcome man’s evil just as light overcomes darkness. The CROSS is a prime example: At the cross we see man at his worse and God at His best.

RELIGION/HUMANISM attempts to lower our view of God and raise our view of man.

Steven Lawson

This is in complete contradiction of the bible. God is high and exalted and man is a falling creature. Phylis Diller said, “God created man a little lower than the angels and he has been getting lower ever since.” I remind you that all religions are humanistic and that try to put God and man on equal footing–this is error.

There is a infinite gap between Holy God and depraved man, one that only Jesus can bridge.

As I have already stated, there is a lot more in this Psalm but I want you to notice this huge contrast:

Contrast: the state of being strikingly different from something else.

Comparison: the state of likeness or similarity.

You can see the contrast by the use of the pronouns THEY [referring to man] and YOUR [referring to God].

Lets look at the first four verses and highlight the THEY’S…

We have a list of characteristics of the wicked…

[1] They listen to the voice of Sin. Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. Sin guides them.

[2] They have no fear of God at all. They do not fear sins consequences at all.

[3] They are conceited, they cannot see how wicked they really are. They have no understanding of their depravity.

[4] They say is crooked things, deceitful things. In other words, they lie and see nothing wrong with lying.

[5] They refuse to act wisely or do good. They have no intention of doing good. No plan to do good.

[6] They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. 

[7] They never do good. Their motives are always evil.

[8] They make no attempt to turn from evil.

[two more in verse 12]

[9] They are falling lower and lower. Going down!

[10] They will never rise: destined to fall deeper and deeper.


This is exactly what Paul is talking about in Romans ONE.

Romans ONE…

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

Notice what Paul says in the next verse…

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.

What homosexuals and lesbians do is shameful and degrading but the basic problem is REBELLION. Not all who rebel against God get involved in sexual perversion but they do get caught in this downward spiral that is illustrated by sexual perversion. Sexual perversion is not going to have a good outcome but any act of rebellion will sear the conscience and the sooner a man repents the better. Rebellion is a step in the opposite direction of God and the rebel continues to enlarge the gulf; he gets deeper and deeper, farther and farther from God.

Now if this was the end of the Psalm, we would be in trouble but Praise God, it is not. Let’s turn our attention to the other pronoun: You and Yours which refers to God.

[1] Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens.

[2] Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

[3] Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains.

[4] Your justice like the ocean depths.

[5] You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.

[6] Your unfailing love is precious!

[7] You care for them from the abundance of Your own house.

[8] You let them drink from Your river of delights.

[9] You are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

[10] Pour out Your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.


One word is found three times among God attributes; it is the Hebrew word Checed, a Hebrew word for GRACE. It is an interesting word that the AV translates it 12 different ways: Mercy [149], kindness [40], lovingkindness [30] but also merciful, favor, good, and goodliness. It is found three times here in verses 5,7, 10. NASB–lovingkindness, NIV- Love, NRSV-Steadfast Love, NET- Loyal Love, REB- Unfailing Love, CSB- Faithful Love. None of them are wrong: it is a broad description of Agape–love from above, divine love which is unmerited and unconditional. It is at the heart of the gospel and the reason I stand before you tonight.

Five Kings In A Cave [R]


When  Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem heard what Joshua and the Israelites had done to Jericho and Ai and that they had allied with Gibeonites, he sent messengers to several other kings: Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish, and Debir of Eglon saying, “Come and help me destroy Gibeon,” because they surrendered to Joshua without a fight and sitting a bad precedent. Adoni-zedek intended to make an example out of Gibeon so that no other cities would join forces with Joshua. So these five Amorite kings combined their armies for a united attack. They moved all their troops into place and attacked Gibeon. The Gibeonites sent word to Joshua that they were under attack and Joshua and his army marched all night  to attack the Amorite kings.

Thing went well for the Israelites and the rout was on. The five kings fled the battle when they saw thing going bad and took refuge in the cave at Mekkedah. One of the Israelites soldiers saw them enter the cave and told Joshua where they were hiding. Joshua instructed some of him men to stop up the entrance of the cave and then resume the battle. When the battle is over, the entire army comes back to the cave and they bring the Kings out for execution.

Canaan is a type in the bible for the victorious Christian life. Jesus said, The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Ultimately, God is saving us from hell and to heaven. In the present God is saving us from sin and self. Sin is powerful because it is rooted in our flesh. These Amorite kings are symbol of the fleshly forces {Pharaoh’s} that seek to dominate us, lord over us, enslave us. We are not to yield to the power of the flesh but walk in the Spirit. We are to be hyper-niki’s, more than conquerors.

Romans 8:1-4

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

What are the dominant forces of the flesh that seek to lord over us? There are more than five but tonight I want to talk about five powerful fleshly kings that will lord over us if we allow it.


Augustine believed that pride was the root of all sin and that humility is the foundation of all virtue.  He said, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

I know this, at the center of Pride and Sin is the unbroken I. I remind you that the first person pronoun [I, My, Me} in Greek is the word ‘ego‘. You are familiar no doubt with the words: Egomaniac, Egotism, Egocentric–all these terms refer to excessive pride.

The Rich Fool

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I will say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

I think of the words of Lucifer…the archangel…

I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”


Someone has said that pride is the only disease that everyone recognizes except the person who has it.

We need not kid ourselves, it likes to go undetected. What I am saying is that PRIDE is deeply embedded in our flesh and if we are not careful, it will subtly take control of our life. Many people who act humble are in fact very proud. I heard about a man who was given an award for his humility. It was a gold tie pin but they had to take it away from him because he wore it everywhere he went. He was proud of his humility. Those of you my age can remember Mrs. Bertha Smith and the tract she use to refer to again and again…it is called NOT I BUT CHRIST and it focuses on identifying the secret spirit of pride. Let me list a few of the indicators in that tract…

[1] Exalted feeling in view of your success or position.

[2] Spirit of independence.

[3] Love of human praise and a secret fondness to be noticed.

[4] Love of supremacy, drawing attention to self in conversation.

[5] The stirrings of anger or impatience.

[6] A touchy, sensitive spirit; a disposition to resent and retaliate when others disapprove.

[7] Self-will; a stubborn, unteachable spirit; an arguing, harsh, sarcastic expression; an unyielding, headstrong disposition; a driving, commanding spirit; a disposition to criticize and pick flaws when set aside and unnoticed; a peevish, fretful spirit; a disposition that loves to be coaxed and humored.

[8] Carnal fear; a man-fearing spirit; a compromising spirit?

[9] A jealous disposition, a secret spirit of envy shut up in your heart.

[10] An unpleasant sensation in view of the success of another.

[11] A disposition to speak of the faults and failings, rather than the gifts and virtues of those more talented and appreciated than yourself.

[12] A dishonest, deceitful disposition; the evading and covering of the truth; the covering up of your real faults.

[13] Leaving a better impression of yourself than is strictly true.

[14]False humility; exaggeration; straining the truth.

[15] Lack of faith and trust in God; a disposition to worry and complain in the midst of pain, poverty, or at the dispensations of Divine Providence; an over anxious feeling whether everything will come out all right.

[16] Lack of concern for lost souls; dryness and indifference? Selfishness; love of ease; love of money.

Not I But Christ

 Lord, bend that proud and stiffnecked “I,”

Help me to bow the neck and die,

Beholding Him on Calvary,

Who bowed His Head for me.

I am humiliated every time I read the list, there is not much if anything on the list of which I am not guilty. Watch that secret spirit of pride. It likes to hid in the darkness of your deepest soul.


Zig Zigler said fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. This is why the left loves fake news: it is designed to promote fear. The latest example is the Corona Virus. Just a few years ago, it was Social Security. When Reagan ran from president, it was the threat of war–he is a warmonger. Those who promote and incite fear are not of God. He doesn’t peddle fear, the devil is the fear monger. The devil is basically a terrorist. He peddles fear and promotes insecurity. He wants to destroy your peace and your sense of security. This is why he tempts all true believers with doubt. If you never have doubts, I am worried about your spiritual condition.

When Adam and Eve transgressed: the first results [immediate] was fear and shame. Our parents became grossly insecure and insecure people lie. They lie because they are afraid. They believe that lies protect them from being hurt. Insecure people cannot trust. They are afraid to tell you the truth. They think that love is earned. They live in constant fear of being rejected. But their dishonesty destroys their relationships one by one. Good healthy relationship are based on truth. You would be surprised by the number of people who live under the tyranny of fear. Paul told Timothy,  God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. God does not want you to live under the dreadful tyranny of fear. There is hope and I am going to tell you how to get out from under this horrible taskmaster called Insecurity.

We had a WEE Care, that is weekday early education for 30 of the 38 years I was at Danville. A big part of the program is CHILD CARE. Back in the early 90’s we had a little 7 year old girl named Beth who was bad to act out from time to time. She had a little brother who was three or four years younger. Beth’s mother was fairly attractive, tall slender build and in her mid twenties. She had children before she was ready and she was waiting when the WEE Care opened and did not come to get her children until closing time. Beth and her brother were 12 hour children which is never a good sign. One day Beth showed out to the point that he workers were exasperated; they were at wits end and so they sent for me. I was a little aggravated at first but I knew the kids were innocent and my heart went out to Beth and her brother. The van was parked by the widow of the Child Care so I took Beth to van. The women could see us but not hear us. I spoke gently to Beth and just began probing. Finally, I ask the right question and she unburdened her little heart. She said, “I went to big one night a year ago and when I walk up I had no daddy and I have not seen him since, he just left and did not even say by. Every night when I lay down, I have a hard time going to sleep because I am afraid that when I wake up it will just be my brother and me.There are a lot of Beths in our world. I didn’t have the confidence that I should have had but I said to Beth, “Beth your mother is not going to leave you. She works hard and I know she looses her patience with you but she loves you and she is not going to abandon you.” Beth was seven year old and living in a world of fear. This should not be.

I’m a little hesitant to do it but I am going to share a personal testimony.


We call lust everything but what it isWebster defines lust as...having a very strong sexual desire for someone. Actually, it is to look of upon the flesh of another person with sensual and selfish desires. Lust has no regard for the other person. We are so confused in our society that we don’t know the difference between love and lust. Most of what we call love is lust. Having sex with someone is not making love. Love in most cases has nothing to do with sex: it should have. We sin every time we have sex for a selfish reason, married or not.

Lust puts my desire above your need.

I know for a fact that men have a problem with lust. I also know that old men have a problem with lust. I am extremely afraid of two things: porn and gambling. Now I am speaking from my perspective and conditioning. I was subjected to both of these evils when I was a kid. I know what both will do to me. Am I tempted? Of course I am, if I were not there would be nothing to fear. While I am on the subject: Ladies don’t make it harder on us: cover up, dress modestly. There are some things that only your husband should see, at home, not at church or Walmart.

Ladies, men are visually stimulated. All you have to do to get them fired up and give them a picture, a view and they get excited. Women are doing foolish things. I have pleaded with members of my own family about dressing in a revealing manner and they laugh at me. Ladies you are pouring gas on the fire; be careful. I tell the young ladies in my family that good men are attracted to modest women.


I use to joke about drug addiction but not any more; addiction jokes are no longer funny. Once it happens to someone you love, it will cease to be a laughing matter. The bad thing about addiction is the blindness it creates. Drug addicts do not see drugs as harmful; they think of drugs as being helpful, ENABLERS but in reality they are disablers. The Graham Association says that 7 out of every 100 are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I think it higher. I heard a medical doctor say last week that if you have been on pain medicine for more than two weeks, you have a problem and if your doctor keeps prescribing pain medicine, you need to find a new doctor. I have become friends with a doctor in Decatur who says, “There are not enough narcotics in the world to relieve one persons chronic pain.” I think he is right on! You keep throwing pain med at chronic pain and you will end up with a much worse problem than chronic pain. There are some realities we have to accept…

Drugs kill and the medical industry knows this yet they keep legalizing more and more drugs. We are in a drug epidemic and no one is talking about it. Young people, I will tell you how to prevent, don’t start, don’t experiment with drugs. Do not do recreational drugs. Millions of addicted began with these so called recreational drugs and alcohol is a drug.

No one lives a pain free life. Pain is a part of life and we must except it.

Narcotics are for short term: for people in intense or traumatic pain following an accident or surgery or for the terminally ill. They are not for back aches and headaches. Life and narcotics don’t go together.

Narcotics are not enablers; they are disablers. Yes, in the beginning the rocket fuel that narcotics produce will enable you to fly higher, boost your energy enabling you to get more done with less rest but that is going to change. You will have to take more and more just to enable yourself to function. Eventually, your basic function will be to get the drugs and they are expensive.

Long story short: getting addicted to a narcotic or to alcohol can and will destroy your marriage, family, business, health, your social relationships, your mind and your life. They create a vortex that will suck you under.


Greed is one of those secret sins [like jealously and envy] that we hide in the darkness. I heard every confession in the book but after 50 years no one has ever confessed to me that they are jealous, envious or greedy. These are the ones we like to keep hidden. I want to give you some advice. A lady on a search committee ask me about a person the other days and all I said was, “Check their giving record.” There is only one thing that I need to do to check out your credibility or your integrity: look at your giving. I am sorry folks, but it is a dead give-a-way. For a man to pretend to love his church and not support it financially is a sure indicator that he is lacking in integrity. He does not have things together. If a husband loves his wife and children, he will support them financially. It is absurd to think otherwise. Yet Baptist churches are filled with people who want to assume leadership when they are robbing God of HIS tithes. I am very familiar with those who make their own laws regarding giving but only a rebel makes his own laws. You do not give because your heart is not right and you have no integrity because you are pretending that it is right. To have integrity, you have to tell the truth. So stand up and tell the church, “I will not support you financially. I would like to help make decisions but I am not going to give my money.” Do that and see how many committee appointments you get.



Now, as I have spoke on the kings that we hid in the darkness and secret places of our lives, has the Holy Spirit put His finger on any one of these Kings? If He has, I am going to tell you what to do.

Bring them out into the open, into the light. Don’t keep them hidden.Call them what they are. If you have a problem with lust, you will never get victory by calling it something else. If you refuse to admit that you are jealous, you will never get victory of jealously. {Junior Hill}You put your heel on their neck. You take command of them, instead of letting them command you.Surrender them to Joshua {Jesus}. You don’t have what it takes to put them to death but He does. Bring your sin to Jesus. He is the only person in the universe that wants your sin.

[1] Identify the secret sin and call it what it is…

To get free of addiction…call it addiction.

To get free of an Alcohol addiction…call it an addiction not a disease. Alcoholism is not a disease, it is a sin.

If you stretch the truth and call it a lying not embellishment or exaggeration.

If you are looking at someone inappropriately, call it lust not admiration.

Call it what it is... or there will be no victory.

If you get all tensed up every time you have an opportunity to give: call it what it is, Greed.

You get no victory until you call it what it is and acknowledge the destruction it is doing. Greed is no small sin: he perpetuates every form of evil: porn, abortion, drugs, gambling, etc.

[2] Next: You bring it out into the light [open]. We call this confession.

Perhaps your are thinking… “Will I am not confessing.” No confession, no victory. It is that simple.

The devil will keep you in bondage and darkness so long as you refuse to confess. There is no victory a part from confession. I heard a story when I was a kid about another kid…He lived on a big Southern Plantation and he was in good standing with the Master. He had his chores to do but he also had a lot of free time. His master had a small lake in front of the mansion and on that lake, he had some prize swans that he valued highly. He was very clear about the swans, no one was to hurt or injure them. One day this kid is tempted to throw rocks at the swans. He doesn’t intend to hurt them, only frighten them but his rock gets to close and hits one of the swans in the head. He fishes the bird out of the water but the swan is dead. He quickly slips into the forest to bury the dead swan. Then he goes the kitchen to so his chores. The man who runs the kitchen is not a nice man and he was watching the boy through the window and he saw it all. After the boy had done his routine chores, the cook said, “Boy, I want these floors scrubbed.” The kid said, “That’s not my job.” “I saw you kill that swan today,” said the cook, “Do you want me to tell the master?” The boy scrubbed the floors. He became the cooks slave. Finally one day, he just couldn’t take it anymore and he went and confessed to the Master. He was shocked when the Master said, “I saw you, I have known all along but I was waiting to see if you would confess. I believe you have suffered enough for your crime but don’t do it again.” “You don’t have to worry, I’m not going near that lake,” said the boy and then he headed for the kitchen. The cook said, “boy scrub the floors,” and boy said, “not today“. “I’ll tell the Master,” said the cook. “I already told him,” said the boy as he kept walking.

Third, by grace with the help of Jesus, you take authority over the sin. You put your foot on it.

Fourth, you give the Holy Spirit permission to execute the sin. You have no love for this sin and you do not want it to survive. The best thing for sin is death. You either have it executed or it will kill you. No compromise with sin. A family had a little dog that got hit by a car.