Thursday, May 10, 2012

Antioch's Annual Meeting

This past weekend we headed over to Vero Beach for their annual meeting.  They had invited Bro. Marty Smith.  We knew we weren't going to be able to stay all weekend, there were just too many irons in the fire this weekend.  There was their meeting, there were two blueberry festivals, and there was a get together for a friend's birthday and Cinco de Mayo all rolled into one.  All that of course came after the week of painting.

We thought about just skipping out on the meeting this weekend, after all it is a long way and we did have a crazy week.  However, we've had the oppertunity to hear Bro. Marty several times since the Florida Fellowship Meeting last year at Vero and each time he has been blessed with great liberty, so we decided if we could only make it to one meeting we would go Friday night, so we loaded up all the kids and rode with Granddaddy Garland.  On the way there I was a exhausted.  You know I had that stuff in mind that you are suppose to work on putting out of mind so that you can focus on Church and worshipping the Lord.  The whole run of - I left laundry in the washing machine, it'll be soured by the time we get back home, I meant to move that before we left.  And, did I start the dishwasher, I don't think I did?  If Britt whines one more thing at me I'm going to spank that child, I don't care if we are in the care with the great-grandfather.  Well, it's 5 o'clock on Friday, if Gary was going to get that job I'm sure they would have called by now.  Why in the world can't we get a real job?  Big surprise, every other job has gone this way.  What now.

You get the picture, the internal dialogue that seems to go on most of the time.  Gary has no trouble turning off his brain, but I have a great deal of trouble simply praying and then putting things out of mind.  We got to Church and Britt started running a fever.  He was hot enough by the end of song service that I was sweating holding him. (By the way, it turned out to be a one night thing and done.)  I had a lot on my mind when Bro. Marty opened with Psalm 77.

I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

His main focus was on the first three verses, but he made a few comments about the Psalm as a whole after he read it.  His first point is that this is a sad psalm written by Asap, in a time of great trouble and discouragement, and it doesn't end with "and after all this I lived happily ever after."  It ends with a reference to the children of Isreal in the midst of the red sea.  We know that they were lead through it, but it ends with a reference to his leading in the midst of trouble, not his deliverance from trouble.  The point was even though we want the trouble to end and everything be alright again, sometimes it's about growing closer to him during our troubles.  However, there is a hope in the chapter, because he says in the beginning that when he cried out, the Lord heard him.

He went back to the beginning and first took it with a physical application.  This is a man who was so miserable and in such pain that he cried out loud to God.  Bro. Marty told us to think of a sore that just won't heal.  It's so ugly and gaping, you turn on the sheets and it catches and just starts bleeding and oozing again, and you can't get it to stop and you can't get relief.  It's such a hideous mess that others draw away from you.  Nothing you do seems to help.  He said, you obviously need help with that.

He then told us to imagine a sore on our soul.  Sometimes we think on what we were, and things we did, problems in our life, and we can't let it go.  Our pain, our sore runs in the night as we don't succeed in giving it over to the Lord and trusting in Him to deal with it.  Sometimes Satan comes in the still quiet times in the night when we are already troubled and he doesn't show us who we are on the outside, because we clean that part up good.  He doesn't show us who we are at the core, because as one of God's children we have the imparted righteousness of God.  He shows us who we are in between there, and tells us if others knew, they wouldn't care for us.  He tells us that God couldn't really care about us.  It's a sore that runs in the night.

First Bro. Marty told us that Satan was lying to us.  If someone has a sore it's proof that there is physical life there.  If you cut on a corpse it might deteriorate a little faster, but it doesn't form a sore.  If you injure living flesh it sends white blood cells to battle infection and creates puss, there is a scabbing over to prevent new injury and infection.  The nasty mess we see it our body attempting to fight back and heal.  Having these struggles these moments of doubt prove that we have spiritual life, those without spiritual life don't have these things that weigh on their minds.  So, these verses are about getting relief here, not getting spiritual life.

The next point was a real revelation to me.  We can complian to God, and it's ok.  He told us we shouldn't complain to others, because generally it only drags them down, doesn't help us, and they can't fix the problem.  However, God is big enough to bear our complaints and he is the only one who can fix it.  He told us that the children of Isreal often mummered in the wilderness, and that was a sin.  However, he also pointed out that there was a time when Moses went to God and complained and Moses was given more insight and direction as a result.  When Moses first went to Pharoh demanding let my people go.  Pharaoh blew him off and told the Israelites to keep making bricks but to get their own straw.  The leaders of the people were beaten and afflicted when they couldn't keep up, and they complained to Moses.  He pointed out that Moses didn't just throw up his hands and tell the people.  "I did what I was told, and it's just not working out.  This is God's fault and His mess."  No, instead he went privately in prayer to God and complained, I did what you told me to and it's worse.  God then gave him a new insight, telling Him that from now on the people would know him by his name, and that He would now lead them forth with a mighty hand.  The trial they experienced brought them closer to God, and further magnified and glorified Him.

He then took us back to the physical to explain how we solve it.  He told us that if it wouldn't heal we would find a doctor.  He would lance the sore, then put some salve on it, and then bandage it.  He used the example of the day of Pentecost.   Those there were pricked in their hearts.  There was some direct pressure, some pain of realization there.  These people realized what a terrible thing they had done, and Peter lanced that sore to their soul.  He didn't just leave them there withering with what they had done, he gave them some salve.  He told them that they should repent and be baptized.  Bro. Marty went on to remind us that every time we find ourselves in such a situation of soul that we should repent, we should cling to the saints.  There is a soothing, healing process that comes just from acknowledging our sins and striving to change. Finally to prevent further infection the doctor will bandage you up, and in this situation with "many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation." He told us that the gospel sets us free from the bondage of thinking we have to bear all of this, is soothes our soul with the truth and encourages us to repent, and finally it warns us of other problem area to prevent future problems. He told us that sometimes a message does all three, and sometimes it just does one of these, but that we should remember that they all serve a purpose.

It was a good message, one I look forward to studying a little more.
All these pictures are of the "Super Moon" taken at
sunset and dusk on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

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