- Mike Tillman (Lead Pastor of Ellisboro) recently had major surgery to remove toes on his second foot; he went to the doctor last week to ascertain if further surgery will be required. I have not heard yet about the doctor’s report.
- Jay Willard (Interim at New Pleasant Grove)- his wife had major stomach/internist surgery last week; recovery was anticipated to be both difficult and challenging. Unfortunately, complications have arisen which has mandated that what was supposed to be a 1-2 night hospital stay has become now a 14-21 night hospital stay. Also sad, Jay is not permitted to see Kim. Please pray that she gets home soon and has an easier recovery than expected.
- Doug Byrd (Lead Pastor at Ayersville) has gone through a serious surgery this spring with a very painful recovery. Just recently, he has been diagnosed with liver cancer-- with a growth the size of an orange on his liver. The most recent report this week is that the cancer has moved to the bones. Please pray for Doug, his wife Linda, his family, and the Ayersville church.
- Dr. Tim Keller is a personal acquaintance of mine. Translated, that means that he and I worked together closely on a couple of projects in another denomination, and he knows my name and probably recognizes my face. We are not intimate friends. Many of you may know Tim as a nationally known evangelical pastor and writer of numerous books. Tim has recently been diagnosed with the dreaded aggressive pancreatic cancer. He is seeking some of the best medical treatment literally in the world. He is asking for prayer for his recovery and comfort for his family.
When I went into my quiet time this morning, Mike, Jay/Kim, Doug, and Tim were on my mind. Also, as many of you know, I was diagnosed in 2017 with a fast growing aggressive prostate cancer. To date, the Lord has kept that cancer growth in check. However, yesterday at my trip to the dentist, he became very concerned with some growths on my tongue—he then referred me to an oral surgeon for examination and possible biopsies. Well, while the tongue growths will probably be nothing, you can imagine that it just rekindled some of the mental dynamics of the 2017 biopsy.
I have never preached or taught on Psalm 30, although I have probably read in 50-100 times. However, the Lord gave me a lot of insights into this passage this morning. In the past, when I was a lead pastor, such insights from Him would have caused me immediately to table whatever I was working on for next Sunday’s sermon and to shift my message to this text and His insights. Since I have no such flock, I felt led to share this with you. If you wish to open your bible, please note the following teachings from this text.
Note His Protection (Ps. 30:1):
I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou has lifted me up, and has not let my enemies rejoice over me.
I think that it is interesting that so many of us (even King David) often begin our dialogue with Jesus with a keen awareness that we live in a fallen world with a number of “enemies” around us. One has only to look around in our country today to see the evidences of darkness and fallenness around us to be reminded of those enemies which surround us in this earthly life.
Sometimes, we see and recognize the enemies, and we often see His intervention on our behalf. Maybe it is cancer. Maybe it is human adversaries. Maybe it is people at each other’s throats resulting in the fatalities of innocents. Other times, our enemies are invisible and we don’t see God’ invisible protection—at least not immediately. I am reminded of a man’s testimony of being angry and bitter with God because the Lord allowed him to have a flat tire on the way to a very important business meeting which, of course, meant he was going to miss the meeting. Only later did he discover that the Lord graciously gave him the flat tire to protect him from the fatal wreck on his road just 5 minutes down the way. He is always protecting us.
Note our Plea (Ps. 30:2):
O Lord my God, I cried to Thee for help, and Thou didst heal me.
It really does not take much awareness of the fallenness of the darkness around us and the existence of forces which intend to do us harm or take our lives to make us fall on our knees and cry out to Him for His intervention. Mike, Jay/Kim, Doug, Tim, and all of their families are doing just that.
Note His Promise (Ps. 30:3):
O Lord, Thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol; Thou has kept me alive, that I should not do down to the pit.
Now I realize that we should be careful of reading our New Testament theological perspectives back into the minds of the Old Testament saints, but I cannot read David’s acknowledgement of his deliverance from Sheol and the pit without skipping forwarded to my own awareness of Jesus’ deliverance of my soul from the destiny of hell and the pit. While David would have only a little inkling of this, we know that this deliverance comes only through the sacrifice of the Blood of the Lamb.
It does seem to me that as we draw near to Him in our own neediness, we do so need to remember what He has already done for us. For me, the Promise of my salvation from the pit is both a present awareness and a future expectation based upon the promises of Him Who is forever faithful.
Note our Praise (Ps. 30: 4):
Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name.
It is disconcerting to me to note so many of us, even after we are aware of His interventions and His provisions in our life, have so very little praise for Him afterwards. Too many of us favor the nine lepers who, after being healed by Jesus, actually forsake returning to Him to give Him praise. I have seen this way too much in American Christianity.
Note His Perspective (Ps. 30:5):
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
David invites us to see the big picture—the view from 30,000 feet. This life (with its fallenness, with its consequential “justice from God”, with its sadness and suffering, and with its sometimes bleakness and hardness of life) is just a blink of the eye in the perspective of eternity. When we focus only on the here-and-now, we lose the ability to see the forest because of the trees. Life is hard; God is good (all the time); our joy with Him forever is indescribably glorious.
Well, I could go on and talk about our prosperity, His purposes, our Party, etc. but I think this will suffice for now.