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I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 7. Here is a summary of his one sentence: A God-centered life is one that trusts God who is a righteous judge.

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I had the privilege this morning of listening Dr. Keith Palmer, a guest speaker at Southwest Hills Baptist Church, preach on Psalm 43 (“Quieting the Disquieted Soul”). Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Peace doesn’t come when our circumstances change, but rather when we see Jesus as our exceeding joy.

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Sermon in a Sentence

This morning, I had the privilege of preaching a sermon called “Waiting” on Psalm 27. Here is a summary in one sentence: Waiting for the Lord requires an intimate knowledge of God, the public worship of God, seeking God in prayer, and the desire to encourage others to do the same.

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In His good providence this last week, God encouraged me not to give up, lose heart, and be discouraged.

I’ve been out of the pastorate for 14 months and counting. So far, the search for my next pastoral ministry hasn’t turned up much. In fact, it’s been slow, very slow. It’s also been discouraging. I love teaching and don’t want to give it up, but I would also love to return to pastoral ministry in a church. If possible, I’d like to do both.

But the wait and the relative lack of opportunities (four interviews so far – two face-to-face and two by phone) have almost caused me to lose heart and give up on more than one occasion. The Lord knew that, of course, and used two different passages on different days to strengthen me.

At our Men’s Bible Study, I read 1 Samuel 27:1 which says, Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. there is nothing better for me that I shoule escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.” David was weary of being chased by Saul, sick and tired of always having to look over his shoulder. In short, he was discouraged. The rest of 1 Samuel 27 is a cautionary tale of what happens when someone loses heart.

Then, at a gathering of the Spurgeon Fellowship at Western Seminary, Pastor Mike Jones of Independent Bible Church in Port Angeles, spoke on the subject of discouragment in ministry. (I’m seeing a pattern here!) One of the verses he read was 2 Corinthians 4:1Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” Paul had every reason imaginable to lose heart and be discouraged (read 4:8-12), but he didn’t give in to it. Why? Because he had an eternal perspective (read 4:16-18).

God brought theses verses and their emphasis – don’t be discouraged – to me because He knew I needed them. It’s possible that I was closer to the edge of despair than I thought and was in danger of falling off. It’s also possible that I’m not all that close to the edge, but needed to be reminded (and even warned) not to get any closer.

Is the Lord giving me encouragement for the long haul, which is going to be a lot longer than I hope? Is something going to happen soon? Is the Lord saying, “Don’t give up! It won’t be much longer”? I don’t know. I do know this, though, I’m encouraged and I praise God for it.

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