Harbour Lake Baptist Church
 
November 07,2017
 
Dear HLBC Family, 
 
 
I know, like me, you have all been shocked and saddened by the recent massacre of 26 people at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. In fact we’ve been inundated with tragedy and grief in the aftermath of the recent killings in Las Vegas, the senseless ISIS killings in New York, the loss of life and “way of life” during the hurricanes of 2017, and the alarming rising rate of murder all over our nation. This is especially true in our large cities of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. I read an article, just this morning, about a man who killed his girlfriend on Halloween in Pennsylvania after she refused his marriage proposal. As well, nations of the world are flexing their nuclear muscles with looming threats of mutually assured destruction. With such heartbreak and uncertainty we can easily become discouraged, despaired and even lose hope. As a result many are asking questions like “Where is God in all of this?” and “Why would a supposedly loving God allow these things to happen?”
 
 
Those are good questions aren’t they? And they deserve truthful answers. So I want to remind you of a few truths that I believe will help us all see things from the proper perspective and help us, as people of faith in Christ, to stay on focus, being hopeful during these troubling times.
 
 

Truth # 1 – We Should Never Dwell on The Pain of the Past. No doubt most of you reading this have said at one time or another, “I wish we could go back to a kinder, gentler time when I was younger.” But the truth is we can’t; and we are taught to never live our lives looking back, but looking forward. Although circumstances of the past (and some painful to be sure) can, and often do, shape our Christian character, we have to move forward in that new character to serve and obey God. We do so for the express purpose of getting others into God’s Kingdom. Paul the great Apostle said of his own life strewn and stricken with tragedy and pain,  But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (ESV).

  

Truth # 2 – We Should Always Remember God’s Faithfulness in the Past. The truth is that God has brought us through many troublesome times as the history of our nation has unfolded. One need only look at our nation’s past, to see the fingerprints of Holy God on America. Our birth was unique as Christians and God-fearing men founded our nation on the basis of biblical principles and moral ethics. We can look back see how God has used America to bring gospel penetration around the world. Through seven major wars and conflicts, God has stood with America to make us stronger as a people. He has been faithful to help us through the good times, the hard times and the lean times. God is also faithful to us individually. As we obey Him and TRUST Him, His promises are unfailing. And what are some of those promises? Let me share just a few.
 
 

Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
 
 

Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)

29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

 

Isaiah 41:13

13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”

 

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Truth # 3 – We Should Always Look to God in the Future. God has proven His faithfulness to us in the past. What could ever make us doubt His faithfulness in the days and years ahead of us? We must remember that God loves us and is faithful to keep His promises; especially in the midst of trouble and crisis and uncertainty. In fact that’s when He does His best work. When adverse circumstances and calamities come and seem to swallow us up, look through those circumstances — look up to God. He’s there. He always is. He always has been!! If we’ll simply pray and ask for his help, and then allow Him to work, He’ll show up in ways that will take our breath away.

 

Philippians 4:19New International Version (NIV)

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

 

Psalm 34:7New International Version (NIV)

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

 

Psalm 9:9-10 (NIV)

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
 

Faithfulness is one of the traits of the Lord’s character. You learn to trust someone’s character traits by getting to know that person. You wouldn’t ever trust someone you just met with your finances would you? No, because you don’t know that person—you have no idea what kind of character and integrity he or she may have. However, once you make the effort to spend time with that person and get to know them, you may find that they are indeed trustworthy. Perhaps the reason you are unable to really trust God with your life and your future is because you don’t really know Him and you’re afraid to trust Him. You may not know who He is or what you can expect of Him. You need to make the effort to spend time with Him and His faithful character so that you can trust Him. I can suggest three ways for you to do that. Study His word and see His faithfulness in the lives of His people; look back and reflect on His faithfulness to you in your past (get out some pencil and paper—write them down), you’ll be very surprised at the number of times He’s been faithful and trustworthy; and pray for the wisdom to hear and obey His voice—to distinguish His voice from the voices of the world.

 

Finally, let’s remember as the redeemed of the Lord, this is not all there is. I heard that collective “AMEN.” This is not our home. We are only passing through. We are citizens of another city and one day we will leave the confines of this sinful body and decaying world to live eternally in a mansion in heaven. Can’t you see that city in your mind’s eye? If not, take a moment to read Revelation 21:10-27. It will bless you!!!!

 

Until All The Nets Are Full,
 

Pastor Jimmy Fuller