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The Secret to a Satisfying Life: Psalm 90

The man or woman who has found joy in Jesus isn’t desperately searching for joy anymore, but desperately doing anything and everything to have more of him. They now see every desire and longing through the lens of having already discovered and secured their greatest treasure.”

 

-Marshall Segall

            Have you ever run out of things to pray about? It sounds silly, but sometimes I get stuck on what or who to pray for. When this happens, I can always turn to the book of Psalms to guide my prayers. Psalm 90 has been a tried and true psalm for my prayer life since it is one of the most poignant psalms about life with an eternal perspective. The psalmist gives a powerful acknowledgment to God’s authority over life and time.

Creation, life, and death are the themes the author draws out in these seventeen verses. The author reflects on creation, reminding us of God’s authority over the lands he formed and the generations he planned to exist. Another reminder follows this to point out God’s ability to wipe out his beloved people, which instills in us a reverence for our fearful, almighty God. Then praise rises in the form of gratitude for life as one experiences the afflictions of life in a broken world. Finally, the psalmist closes the prayer by asking for a blessing of wisdom and favor in their work for as long as God grants them life.

           Something strange and beautiful I experience as I read through various psalms is reading the psalmists’ words but feeling as though I have already prayed the exact sentiment to God or have already written that thought in my journal.  The creator of Psalm 90 writes, “we bring our years to an end like a sigh.” Anyone else feel this? Be honest- like me, you welcomed 2018 with a sigh of relief that 2017 was over, right?  As each year ends, I like to reflect on God’s protection and provisions encountered throughout the year. My list of the day’s occurrences from my planner or the detailed weekly recap in my journal highlight God’s faithfulness to me day in and day out. However, to my shame, there are many days where I felt that God’s fullness of joy had escaped me. Many days I failed to live righteously. I didn’t live as though I had found the greatest joy or that Jesus the greatest treasure. Over the last few months, God has graciously worked on me. As I have grown in the discipline to sacrifice my sleep to meet with him every morning, I’ve developed a deeper relationship with God that I didn’t know was possible. I desperately want you to experience it for yourself. Nothing is sweeter than this time with Jesus each morning. My joy has returned to me. Despite bad days at work and general disappointments typical to life, I only grow more satisfied and joyful in God.

Each year is a testament to God. We are guaranteed “trials of various kinds” (James 2:1), but there’s a secret to not letting these challenging experiences break us. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom… Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:12, 14). Did you get that? The secret to a happy life is satisfaction in God. No job, title, relationship, accomplishment, or whatever may be your heart’s deepest desire can truly satisfy you. Only the Bread of Life and the Living Water can fill and sustain you. This requires a relationship with God. The psalmist tells us when this satisfaction should occur: “in the morning”. If you start your day going straight to work, you will be unsatisfied. Does your alarm go off and you immediately get ready for the gym? You’ll be unsatisfied. Do you open your eyes and directly begin taking care of little ones? You’ll be unsatisfied. In the morning you need to do the only thing that will bring you the lasting joy that will sustain you for the remainder of the day. You must meet with the Lord alone. You must read his word and pray. Only then can you do the work that he has for you and be fulfilled in it.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us” (Psalm 90:17). God gives us work, but it is for his glory. God gives us bodies to maintain, but it is for his glory. God gives us people to take care of and love, but it is for his glory. We are made to work but make sure your priorities are pointing you in the right direction. Remember to have an eternal perspective because this is just another year on this earth, yet it is a vapor in light of eternity. Brothers and sisters, 2018 will be full of things trying to steal your joy, but if you begin each morning being filled by God, you will be satisfied. My prayer for you as you enter 2018 is that you will stop looking for satisfaction in people or things or your accomplishments and that you’ll recognize you’re able to have full joy and satisfaction in a relationship with God.

Posted by Laura Rogers with

His Name Shall Be Called...Everlasting Father

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As we approach this Christmas Eve service, let us consider Isaiah 9:6-7 which says,

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this." (ESV)

These powerful and prophetic words were recorded by the prophet Isaiah approximately 700 years prior to their fulfillment. We have the privilege of reading these words over 2,000 years after their fulfillment was found in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Messiah, Emmanuel- God with us. In this sermon series at Coastal, we have been considering the names that Isaiah ascribes to Jesus and what they teach us about who he is and how he relates to us. This week we will consider Jesus as our "Everlasting Father."

If you're anything like me, you've asked yourself, "How can Jesus, the Son of God, be our Everlasting Father?" It is important that we not interpret this in Trinitarian terms, lest we arrive at what is commonly referred to as Modalism, the belief that God is one person that reveals Himself in three "modes" rather than as existing eternally in three distinct persons of the Trinity. Orthodox Christians reject Modalism as heresy. God is one God, existing in three distinct persons- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How then can Jesus Christ, the Son and second person of the Trinity, be called our Everlasting Father? In the Hebrew language and culture, there are numerous ways to understand this. Translated literally, this phrase means "the Father of eternity." Colossians 1:15-18 tells us,

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." (ESV)

In his 1866 sermon (724), Charles Spurgeon offered several possible ways of understanding this name given to Jesus, which are summarized below (Some have been omitted for the sake of length, see the full sermon here):

1. Jesus is federally our "Father". (1 Corinthians 15:45-49 and Romans 5:12-21)

"Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:18-19, ESV)

Here we see the Apostle Paul comparing and contrasting Adam, the "father" of the human race with Jesus Christ, the "second Adam." When the first Adam sinned, he brought about Original Sin for all of humanity because he was our federal representative. One man's sin brought death to the entire world. In the same way, the righteousness of Christ brought life to all who believe under his federal headship.

2. Jesus is our "Father" in that he is our founder.

In much the same way that one might refer to George Washington as the "father" of the United States of America, Chuck Berry as the "father" of rock n' roll, or Richard Dawkins as the "father" of modern atheism, Jesus Christ the "...founder and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2) is the founder or "father" of all Christians. His teachings, life, death, and resurrection all inaugurated the faith and practices of Christianity. He is the father of the Church age of grace which enables us to "...draw near to the throne of grace [with confidence], that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, ESV)

"This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,  in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him." (Ephesians 3:11-12, ESV)

3. Jesus is our "Father" in that He deals with us in a fatherly way.

Perhaps the most compelling and the most practical interpretation of the term "Everlasting Father," Sam Storms calls it “a descriptive analogy pointing to Christ’s character . . . he is fatherly, father-like, in his treatment of us.” Alistair Begg asserts that "...the term "everlasting" is not referencing the eternal nature of the Messiah's being...but rather it is referencing the never-ending nature of his care...He is Father, forever."

The word "father" undoubtedly conjures up a plethora of different ideas and emotions. Loving fathers, abusive fathers, active fathers, absent fathers, tender fathers, distant fathers- we all have a story when it comes to our earthly fathers. For some, Christmas can be a painful reminder of a strained or non-existent relationship with a father. Perhaps it can be a reminder of the loss of a father. It is important for us to understand that at best, our earthly fathers serve as a flawed representation of our perfect Father.

Charles Spurgeon said, "And this is the best of all, that he is “an everlasting Father” to all those to whom he is a Father at all. If you have entered into this relationship so as to be in union with Christ, and to be covered with the skirts of his garment, you are his child, and you shall for ever be. There is no unfathering Christ, and there is no unchilding us. He is everlastingly a Father to those who trust in him, and he never does at any one moment cease to be Father to any one of these."

In this Sunday's sermon we will explore further what it means that Jesus is our "Everlasting Father." As we approach this Christmas Eve service, let us prepare our hearts and minds by having a right understanding of what this prophecy means, as well as what it does not mean. Our right understanding of God's Word results in our right understanding of who Jesus is, how he relates to us, and how we relate to him. Let us worship our Everlasting Father in spirit and in truth this Christmas season.  

Posted by Brian Briggs with

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