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Sunday, March 17, 2019

You Are Not Alone - part three

This is part three of the message I preached at the 55+ community of men and women living at an independent living facility. You can find parts one and two at these links: https://thecontemplativecatholicconvert.blogspot.com/2019/03/you-are-not-alone-part-one.html 

and here: https://thecontemplativecatholicconvert.blogspot.com/2019/03/you-are-not-alone-part-two.html   

As I prepared for this message, I thought to compare the faith-destroying lyrics of George Jones’ haunting melody with a hymn whose lyrics are faith-building. It was written by Fanny Crosby.

Many of you know she was blinded by illness when she was six months old. Here is one of those hymns written while she lived her life in her wilderness. But she knew she was not alone in her wilderness. She knew her Savior was always there, with her, in her wilderness:

He Hideth My Soul

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.”

Have you ever been in a dry, thirsty land? There’s not a person on this planet who has not been there – multiple times in their life.

And some of you reading this are right now in that dry, thirsty land. Please, remember the truth of God: He hideth you soul in the cleft of the rock, that shadows a dry, thirsty land; He hideth your life in the depths of His love, and covers you there with His hand.

Crosby’s hymn continues:

“When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I’ll shout with the millions on high.”

Oh! Why would churches fill the hearts of their faithful during Good Friday with such hopeless words as “You’ve got to walk this lonesome valley by yourself” instead of hope-filled words like “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock . . .and covers me there with His hand”?

Oh, Lord! Help us – Lord cause us to ever be alert to subtle and not so subtle lies when we listen to the news, when we watch the television – even when we hear some sermons and hymns in our churches – help us to distinguish your truth from Satan’s half-truths. Remind us how Jesus responded to Satan’s innuendos: Jesus said, IT IS WRITTEN!

No wonder the Savior warned His disciples – including you and me:

“[E]veryone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

If we do not know God’s word, if His counsel is not part of the warp and woof of our souls, then we live in constant danger of destruction when life’s storms thunder across our lives.

As I close let me remind you and me once again of only a few of God’s promises to His children that we find in Scripture:
If God is for us, who is against us? . . . Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?. . .  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43)
We are two and a half weeks into the Season of Lent – a time many churches set aside to encourage the faithful in the pews to reflect on the life, ministry, death and resurrection of the Messiah Jesus.

Let’s you and I continue to do that for the health and safety of not only our souls, but for the souls of our families and those around us. God help us become more like Jesus, with increasing obedience to the Father, humility, and faithfulness to the work He calls each of us to do.

A wonderful savior, truly, a wonderful savior is Jesus our Lord.

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