Lord, Teach Me How to Pray . . . for Myself

A highly decorated Viet Nam veteran, who was being interviewed by Larry King, was asked, “Were you ever really frightened in battle?” The man replied, “Larry, there were times when I was so afraid, and I prayed so long and so often, that I think God got to know me on a first-name basis.”

It is natural for people, who ordinarily do not pray, to turn to God when all else has failed them. Is that wrong? My answer is, no. Didn’t Jesus invite us to come to Him under all conditions and situations? But there is much more to prayer than just using it as a last resort. “When all else fails, try God,” is not what our Lord taught.

While I have prayed all of my life, I still feel like a real amateur when it comes to prayer Ð and especially praying for myself. Listen to your prayers for yourself and note how immature some of them are. It is not that what we pray is wrong; It is that they lack in depth. They do not get at the real problem and let the depth of our souls speak out. Because this is one of our spiritual needs, I am using for my theme, “Lord, teach me to pray Ð for myself.”

Once a disciple asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray.” If that is our request today, I believe Jesus could say, “Turn to Psalm 51 and you will see a model prayer that comes from the soul of King David.” What Tiger Woods is to golf, David is to prayer Ð meaning we can learn a lot from studying the prayers of this man. Let’s draw out three petitions David prays in this Psalm.

God, knock down my defenses and give me an honest picture of myself. Listen to these words, “I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (vs. 3, 4, 5)

David acknowledges his inherited sinful nature. He was not a good person whom society had spiritually contaminated. By nature it was easier for him to walk away from God than to do the Almighty’s will. David was very much aware that he often tried to justify his sin and blame another person for his wrong.

Give me an honest picture of myself is a prayer that we need for ourselves in 2002. Why? Because we are surrounded with humanism, which teaches we are basically good. We have great spiritual potential. Just a little education and counseling will make us spiritual giants. With such teaching surrounding us, it is natural to believe that this is who I am. Freudian psychology, not Biblical teaching, can easily capture our thinking.

Another question that is difficult to answer is, if we are sinful by nature, why is it that unbelievers do so many nice things for people? The wealthy among these humanists often make large contributions to our communities. We are tempted to say, “Well, Joe wasn’t a Christian, but he had a heart for people. He left 10 millions dollars to the local hospital, which will do a lot of good. He wasn’t all bad. Doesn’t this contradict the Biblical teaching that we are born sinful?”

No, not at all. The fact that we have a sinful nature does not deny that we can still do nice things. Those who are not financially able to give large sums of money also do some wonderful things for people. Their helping hand, that is given by people to make life much more pleasant for those less fortunate, is continually demonstrated. In fact, sometimes it is evident that those who make no Christian confession far outdo some of us who are Christian in reaching out to others in need.

Unless we are aware of who we are on the inside, the humanistic philosophy can lead us astray from the Biblical teaching, “I was born in sin, and in iniquity did my mother conceive me.”

But Lord, when you have shown me who I am Ð a helpless sinner Ð please, bathe me in your grace. Bring me to the cross, and, in faith, may I know that Christ has paid the price for my sins and in Him I am completely forgiven. Then I will live in a personal relationship with you forever.

When Christ is my Savior, I can live with the complete assurance that all of my guilt has been taken away. How easy it is for us to voice these words, “Jesus died for me, and I am forgiven,” and not really accept this truth. Why is it that Christian people live with a lot of guilt? Is it possible that we have intellectually accepted the dogma that Jesus atoned for our sins, but we have not quite received it as a living truth with which we can live? It is this forgiveness lived out that brings joy to us. Listen to the Psalmist, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” Christ wants to make us happy people, but this happiness is based on our relationship with Him, and not on earthly possessions, which can so quickly be taken away from us.

Though we live with Christ, we also are citizens of this broken world. Its influence is strong and tempting, and it continually draws us away from Him. Therefore, the Psalmist prays Ð and it should be our prayer Ð “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” In other words, David prays, “Lord, continue to make me a new person.”

It is God who not only forgives our sins, but also empowers us to overcome them. In the 18th chapter of Jeremiah, there is a beautiful picture of the potter and the clay. God tells Jeremiah to go to the potter’s shed and watch him work. He works with the rough edges of the clay and forms it just the way He wants it to be. Then God says, “O Israel, can I not do with you as the potter does with the clay?”

Make this personal. Here God says, “O, Joe (use your own name), can I not do with your life what the potter does with the clay? This needs to become the daily prayer for ourselves, “Lord, mold me and make me. Show me how to live. Direct me where I should go and what I should do, whether I am 10 years old or 80 years old. Be a vital part of my daily life, Lord.” Make me concerned about others. If I am oblivious to the needs of people, make me more sensitive to our culture. Do not let me be molded by a society that is contrary to your word, but grant that I might influence the culture of my day. Open my lips and make me a verbal witness for you.”

Do you ever pray that way for yourself? You should!

David knew how to pray for himself. If we want someone to help us with this part of our prayer life, study the psalms.

Living as a Minority

Living as a minority can be quite emotional. Many of us have had that experience.

I once was a member of a board that dealt with financial matters. It was a great learning experience that I treasure. The people on this board were very kind and down-to-earth. However, I often found myself hesitant to speak on a particular problem, because all other members of this board worked in the business world and were millionaires. I was not a millionaire and really did not have the credentials to offer much financial advice.

When I shared these feelings with one of the board members, he reprimanded me and asked, “Why do you think we chose to have you as a part of the group? Your contributions to the ethical concerns of this company are extremely important. Don’t sell yourself short.”

Though I was treated as an equal on the board, I got a small taste of what it was to live as a part of the financial minority, and that was a good experience for me.

There are many kinds of minority groups. Racial and national groups are not the only minorities. What about the disabled? They are a minority group. Their lifestyles have been severely altered in some cases.

There is also the religious minority. From the beginning of the Christian era until the present day, Christians have been, and continue to be, a minority group. When we use the title “Christian,” we refer to those who confess Jesus Christ as God and the only Savior of the world. This is the Biblical definition of the term. There is a broader definition that equates the Christian as one who seeks to follow the ethical teachings that Jesus expounded. However, they stop short of calling Him God, and they certainly do not acknowledge Him as the only Savior of humankind. This group is large in Western civilization.

The Psalmist, writing the words that serve as our text, lived in a religious minority. In verse 8 he writes, “I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother’s son.” In verse 11 he continues, “People make sport of me. I am the song of the drunkards. I am insulted and endure scorn.”

Why was he treated this way? Because his religious convictions had become offensive to not only the general populace, but also to his family. A moderate religious life is not only acceptable, but also admired. However, to be strongly committed and vocal about your faith may often be offensive to society.

The application from Judaism in the Old Testament to Christianity in this century is easy to make. Make a strong, Biblical witness on some of the hot subjects of the day and you will not only see people in strong disagreement with you, but they will also begin to exclude you from your group, labeling you a religious fanatic. It will not be unusual for even a blood relative to say, “We can’t understand what happened to her. We were a church-going family and tried to do what was right, but our parents warned us against extremism in all things, including religion. She has become an embarrassment to us.”

What have you done? Have you been obnoxious in your witness? Have you embarrassed people? Did you dominate the conversation demanding that all others were wrong and you were right in every detail? Did you claim to have the answer for every religious question and give the impression that you were “holier than thou?”

No, you had simply taken a Biblical position on matters that really count to the Christian and have an effect on society and its problems. Your convictions were labeled outdated, intolerant, prejudicial, and irrational. The confession of your church – that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the authority in all matters of faith and life – is too narrow for the majority of people to accept. This quote from Dean Peter Moore of the Episcopal Church would be more acceptable to the majority, “The Bible is much loved, but its authority is much debated.”

The scriptural teaching of original sin, according to the majority, cannot be accepted in an educated society where humanism is the prevailing philosophy. It is much more acceptable to the culture in which we live to say that humans are basically good, and tolerance must be granted when people live in an immature way. This does not necessarily show a character defect, but simply immaturity or mental illness, which education and psychotherapy can correct.

Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me,” can be the seed of serious conflicts that might lead to war. This is the voice of millions in today’s society. A celebrity being interviewed on a talk show stated, “I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, but have since left the Christian faith. I believe the teaching of ‘the only way’ is dangerous and extremely divisive. There are those who believe that the war we are now in is a religious war between Christians and Moslems with each one saying theirs is the right teaching and neither one willing to give in on this conviction.”

It is Christian convictions like these that make us a part of the minority. We can expect to be the recipients of people’s anger, laughter, and exclusion. It is at this point we say with the Psalmist, “I am a stranger to my brothers. They make fun of me and consider me to be ignorant and prejudiced.”

What do I do as a part of the minority? There are several options:

• You can join the majority, or at least muffle your minority belief in their presence.

• You can be a recluse and bask in your self-pity and self-righteousness.

• You can accept your minority role and turn to God for strength and grace to be a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus living in a post-Christian world.

You can find great strength and encouragement with fellow believers in an evangelical congregation. Where was the early Church on Easter evening? They were together in the upper room comforting and encouraging each other. We need the fellowship of believers. Worship, study, and prayer are necessary. The Christian is not an island unto him/herself.

I believe that, unless God intervenes in a very special way and there is a spiritual awakening in America, the Christian will experience his/her minority status in an ever-increasing way. Let’s remember that Biblical Christianity has never been attractive to the majority. Amen.

Who Are the Blessed?

Who are the blessed? The answer for many people centers in an abundance of material possessions and the freedom to satisfy the emotional cravings we have. An example would be a celebrity from the entertainment world who has just won an Oscar for the lead part in the best movie of the year. She is very wealthy. Besides, this person has just been married for the fourth time and boasts of great experiences with all of her spouses whom she loves very much, but who also has the liberty to know when it is time to leave one marriage for another person. This person is “center stage” as she enjoys tremendous popularity for her ability as an actress.

Some years ago a friend and I were attending a summer session at Union Seminary in New York City. One evening we attended a play where Rudy Vallee had the leading male role. Before the play started, I asked an usher to take a note back to Rudy asking if I might see him after the performance. I told him that my hometown was Westbrook, Maine, and I was acquainted with some members of his family. To my surprise, he responded by inviting us back to his dressing room. We had a delightful few minutes with this man, who was now growing old. When it was time to leave the theater, he suggested we walk out the back door with him. Out on the street there was a mob of people. They were waiting to see Elizabeth Taylor, who came down each night in her chauffeured car to pick up her husband, Richard Burton, the lead actor in another play. Seeing the crowd Rudy Vallee said, “Once the crowds came to see me. Now it is Dick Burton and Liz Taylor’s turn.”

This gives us a picture of how some would describe the really blessed people of society. But now turn to the Bible where the Psalmist gives quite another answer.

The blessed are those who live in a personal relationship with God.

He writes, “Blessed is the man who fears (lives in awe of) the Lord, who finds delight in His commands.” (vs. 1) In Christ this relationship becomes personal. Our God is not some indefinite “higher power” with whom we have no communication. He is our Father who invites us to come and make our requests known to Him. He guides, strengthens, and forgives us as we walk with Him here on earth, and one day He will come and take us to our heavenly home, which He has prepared for us.

His family is stable.

“His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.” (vs 2) These people have sent their children into the world with a strong spiritual foundation. They have introduced them to the Lord Jesus and have received Him as their Savior and Lord. The sons and daughters would be in agreement that the greatest blessing received from father and mother would be their Christian faith. The parents need not worry about what will happen to their children at college. They do not need to shield their sons and daughters from those who would denounce the faith and belittle them for their na•ve trust in Christ. These children know well the Laws of God and understand that people cannot live successfully without absolutes. However, more than the Law of God, they have been given the Gospel, which gives them the power to live out of love for Christ.

He knows the blessings and riches of wealth.

“Wealth and riches are in his house . . .” (vs. 3)

With all the warnings the Bible gives about wealth, does this verse surprise you? Isn’t it understandable that people schooled in the Bible could become wealthy? We are taught to make good use of our time. Jesus talked about developing our talents. Compare the child who is raised in the Christian home where there is a loving, disciplined atmosphere and they are expected to do the best they can in school. Respect for teachers is simply assumed. There is a time to play, but there is also a time to work and hit the books. Then there is the child who comes from the undisciplined home. Not too much is expected of them. “Make sure you receive passing grades, and don’t get into trouble, but if you do we will always be there to support you,” is the advice they receive from the home. Of the two children, who is most likely to grow up and succeed in what they are doing? And with success often comes money.

We don’t often talk that way in the church. In fact, some of you might not agree with this point at all. You can point to people who came from very undisciplined homes, where little was expected of them, but their lives are great success stories. Of course that is true. But is it not also true that the person who comes from a home where much is expected of them and parents set the example has a head start on others who have a different type parental home?

However, perhaps the more important point is that, when wealth comes, the blessed person is the one who knows its dangers as well as its blessings. The blessed person’s eyes are on the Father from whom all these blessings have come. The wealth is not to be worshiped, but only He who is the giver of wealth. The blessed realize the truth of Scripture when it says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Money presents a real temptation Ð to be proud of our wealth and gradually walk away from God feeling that now the individual is in control.

He has a true sense of values.

“Even in darkness light dawns for the blessed . . .” (vs. 4)

The righteous person knows what is important and not important in life. They do not get all excited about every little thing that might interrupt their lifestyle. So the neighbors did not invite you to their dinner party because you had offended them in some way. That too will pass. It is in Christ that we learn what is important in life. The words of St. Paul Ð “I care very little that I am judged by you or any human court . . . it is the Lord who judges me.” (I Corinthians 4:3) Ð become one of the basic truths of life.

He has a love for people.

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.” (vs. 5, 9)

There is a concern in the hearts of the righteous for those less fortunate. They take Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan seriously. When they see the poor, sick person lying by the side of the road, it is not enough for them to say, “How sad!” as they go on their way to some social function. They stop and assist the hurting.

They have wealth. They know who gave it to them, and they know why He gave it to them. The blessed are those who have learned the meaning of Biblical stewardship. God is the owner of all they possess; they are but stewards. They have learned there is nothing that can make people more miserable than to live for themselves.

His future is secure.

“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear . . .” (vs. 7, 8)

Not even the blessed can go through life without receiving bad news. Living in a broken world means that sorrow comes to all. The day will come when news of serious illness and death will come to God’s children, but they know where to go for comfort and strength. They live with the continued invitation of Jesus, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) This means that the blessed have those promises of Jesus that are sure. He will give us strength in those tough hours. A woman who has buried her husband and three sons is strengthened and moves on in life. This is the grace of God. She can say with St. Paul, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) While here on earth God will provide strength. When this life is over, He will provide an eternal home free from all bad news.

There is a list of the wealthiest people in the world prepared annually. However, these are not the most blessed people in the world. The most blessed people in the world are those who have possessions like a personal relationship with God, a stable family, an understanding of the blessings and dangers of wealth, a good sense of values, a love for people, and a future that is secure.

There are thousands of those blessed people in this world. If you are not one of them, find a person who lives in this relationship with God and talk to them about what it means to be truly blessed. It’s a lot more than being “rich.”

Where is God in All of This?

When Christians view the majesty of this creation, it is easy to sing, “My God, how wonderful Thou art . . .” But when Christians see the corruption of this society Ð war, crime, terrorism Ð we ask, where is God in all of this mess? If we turn to God’s Word, we will find an answer to our question, where is God?

God had entered into a covenant with Abraham that told the Patriarch, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household, and go into the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you.” (Genesis 12:1-3)

Hundreds of years later God renewed this covenant with Moses, another of Israel’s great leaders. The people responded to the covenant by saying, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” But such was not the case. They became a rebellious people. They were, however, outwardly religious. They came with their offerings. They recited the laws, but did not keep them. It appears that their religion was a formality. This hypocrisy angered God, and in this Psalm he is rebuking the covenant people.

God told them their offerings were fine. He did not need them, but they needed to bring them. The problem was that the sacrifices they brought did not come from their hearts. These sacrifices were little more than a ritual they went through to give them a superficial peace. Later in the Psalm, God challenges them to take a look at their lifestyle. “You hate my instruction. You steal, commit adultery, and use your mouth for evil to speak against other people.”

God continues, “While you practiced this religion, your heart was far from me, and I never gave you any indication that I was angry. I kept silent. This made you think I was condoning your behavior. Well, you were wrong, and now I will rebuke you.”

Did God punish Israel? Consider this nation’s history:

Here came the Assyrians followed by the Babylonians. Years went by, and the Greeks attacked them, and finally the Romans took them captives. As you continue reading the history of God’s chosen people, you learn that they lived as a scattered people for many years. They had no homeland.

In 1917 the Balfour Declaration declared that Palestine was to be a homeland for the Jewish people. However, fighting continued with the Arabs. In 1947 the United Nations partitioned Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. The area west of the Jordan River, known as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, were allotted to the Arabs. In 1948 the Jews accepted the partition, but the fighting wasn’t over. In 1967 Israel and the Arabs fought again with Israel recovering the west Bank and the Gaza Strip. The conflict continues today.

These people, whom God had blessed in so many ways, have suffered hardships under many nations. Think of what Israel has suffered in the 20th century. Does God always keep silent? The answer is, no. Should this speak to those who live under the new covenant today?

The Christian faith teaches that today the Covenant People of God are from many nationalities. They are those who confess Jesus as Savior and Lord. The majority of these people, who are called Christians and known as the Church, live in Western Civilization. Could this Psalm be speaking to us? That’s a heavy question.

What about our worship services? Have they become ritualistic for many of us? Are we following a tradition of attending church on Sunday for an hour, and then life goes on as usual? Do these hours with God and His people in the sanctuary on a Sunday morning change our lifestyle? Is our thinking corrected at that time? Is our faith renewed? Is our commitment to Christ strengthened?

What about our lifestyle? Could God say to us, “What right have you to recite my laws?” In our midst are dishonesty, adultery, slander, profanity, lying, and cursing. The marriage vow is easily broken. While all of this is going on, we hear little from God. Could we suppose, like Israel did, that it is our conviction God is so pleased with us as a nation that He is holding His protecting hand over us? Will there come a day of judgment?

We know that there will be a day of judgment at the end of the age. This is a truth we confess each Sunday in the words of the Apostles’ Creed. But will there be a judgment while this Western Civilization continues to exist? Could we also collapse? Could these blessings, showered upon us by God, be taken away?

What is the place of the Church in this day? I don’t mean simply the church that assembles on Sunday morning for worship. I mean those representatives of the Church, those committed to Jesus Christ by their confession, who go into their highly influential positions in big government, big business, and big unions. Do these people bring God’s Word to their office? If they did, would they keep their positions? Would America stand for some person of this type saying, “It’s time to listen as God speaks to us in His Word”? Would these witnesses be reminded that this is America, and here we practice the separation of Church and State? Is the Christian Church so much a minority voice that it would do little or no good? If that is true, are we beyond spiritual help as a nation? These are serious thoughts. Entertain these questions and you soon see that Christ is not only a teacher of ethical principles that can be rejected or accepted, but One who seeks to be Sovereign Lord.

From where I sit with my small mind, the future looks bleak. However, God holds out a great ray of hope to us as once He did to His people, Israel. Follow the Psalm and you read the good news. God’s warning of judgment is followed by the promise of salvation. “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

This salvation is so clearly presented when Jesus says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)

What a Savior! If we will only come to Him, all things will be made new! Amen.

My Times Are in Your Hands

A week ago I was reading Tom Weaver’s book, The Gospel Solution. There he writes, “Whenever the Lord teaches, he is attempting to evoke Ð even provoke Ð an unexpected response from His audience. We often assume that the Lord was trying to be clear, attempting to communicate in such a way that everyone would understand, yet this was precisely what he was not trying to do. The Lord’s ministry was meant to evoke response rather than to clarify ideas. His approach was meant to evoke a feeling in order to lead the hearer toward a desired attitude or response. This was done by Jesus speaking to what was going on under the surface Ð the real feelings. We are people who have many feelings, some shown and others hidden. It is to these desires that Christ speaks.

Weaver’s book came to mind last Sunday as we sat at the table with our son and his family having dinner. Three families stopped and visited with us briefly. Two of the three were showing feelings of happiness. One was going to be with her daughter when she has her first child. She was riding on cloud nine. The second person was a middle-age businessman who was meeting with great success in his business. The third man was a bit quieter. He told us that this week he is scheduled for surgery and, though all looks well, there is a possibility that some pre-cancerous cells could be involved. Beneath the surface this strong committed Christian had some fears.

This is life Ð three people wearing different emotions on a particular day.

This is the challenge of preaching. All three of these people had attended the same church that Sunday. Two of them would most appreciate an emphasis on thanks giving for giving them a new grandchild and success in business. The third one would have an under-the-surface need of being reassured that there is much hope, for his life is in God’s hands, and God is a loving Father who will be with him and his family.

In our text today, we see the fears of Israel’s mighty leader, King David. Under the surface of what people could see, David had a mixture of emotions Ð distress and hope. He prays, “I’m in trouble, God. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.”

In the next breath he reveals hope in his talk with God. “But I trust in your hand; deliver me from my enemies. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.”

Here was a man in trouble, but he knew where to go because of his personal relationship with God. God was not far away; He was with David. Why wouldn’t he fall emotionally apart? Among his many problems was his family. Imagine a family like David’s. Amnon, one of David’s sons, raped his half-sister Tamar. This angered Absalom, another of David’s sons and a full brother of Tamar, and he killed Amnon. All of this upset Absalom who fled from his father and stayed away for three years. After his return, Absalom tried to kill his father and take over the throne, but he ended up being killed himself by his father’s soldiers.

It was these immense problems that drove David to God, and his words have been of much help to millions of people in their times of need. One such person was Jesus, Himself. This must have been one of Jesus’ favorite portions of Scripture. He memorized some of the Psalms, for in His last moments on the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” This is the fifth verse of the Psalm.

Jesus also prayed to His Father, “I am in trouble.” Don’t you think Jesus identified with David’s prayer? “Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends Ð those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.”

On the cross a fellow prisoner was belittling Jesus. The crowd, gathered on the street as He walked by with His cross, spat on Him. The soldiers were beating Him, and His disciples fled from His presence. The crowds who praised Him on Palm Sunday damned Him on Good Friday.

It was in the midst of this emotional turmoil that our Lord looked to His Father and used David’s words when He said, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

While our families might cause us a few anxious moments, none compare with David’s children. While we might have felt the betrayal of those who were supposedly friends, nothing we have experienced could compare to the rejection Jesus experienced. Nevertheless, we have our anxious moments and our fears.

These are often the fears under the surface. The man who had some fear regarding his scheduled surgery was not the only person in the dining hall that Sunday noon. The 52-year-old man, with whom I met recently and had decided not to continue his dialysis treatments, had fears. His doctor, who had treated him for four years, explained to him that he would die in about eight days after the last treatment. If he continued to live on dialysis, there would be the amputation of a leg and additional heart problems. He would be a real care for his wife. If he died, she would be alone with the challenge of raising a teenager. There would also be the unpleasant time of sharing his decision with close relatives.

As we talked about the heavenly home, he said, “I am ready to go.” He could say with David, “My times are in your hands.” Christ had died for him and had given the assurance of a place in the heavenly kingdom.

These portions of Scripture should become a part of our lives. It is through these promises that God speaks to us and brings us comfort in hours of pain. It was these words “My life is in your hands,” that comforted David and Jesus in their times of fearing. It can serve the same promise in our life.