#22 Strength, Security and Serenity for YOU in 2002! X (27/04/02)

By Robert A. Schuller

Today, as we, my father and I, continue our series of messages from the Psalms, I want to share some lessons from Psalm 139. I was on the Internet last night, and found a website entitled earthfoot.org, and it gave me all kinds of information about sparrows. It was so interesting. Did you know that there are 31 different varieties of sparrows in the continental United States? On this site I learned all about the song sparrow and its interesting habits. As I read the material, it reminded me a lot of the way we humans act. When the song sparrows build their nests, the female does most of the work. She builds several nests and doesn't stop until she gets one just right.

Those who study the song sparrow think that these sparrows build several nests for more than one reason. Most importantly, that when predators come, there are several different nests to search for the eggs and the baby sparrows. Hopefully the predators get frustrated before they find the right nest. During the incubation period of the eggs, only the female sits on the eggs. The male doesn't help at all. But, he does come along and tell her it's time to take a break. Does that sound familiar to you who are wives? "It's time to take a break, honey. You've been working hard enough."

Once the chicks are hatched, then the male sparrow comes to feed the chicks and help out with the feeding process. And when it comes to pushing them out of the nest, he definitely helps out with that.

There is so much we can learn by studying this miraculous planet that God made. When we see the incredible intricacies with which God created every single creature and every one of us, we begin to marvel at the wonder and beauty of the words in Psalm 139. And today I want to translate those words into some real easy sentences that we can remember and take home with us.

Lessons from Psalm 139:
1. You can run, but you can not hide.
2. You can close your eyes, but you'll still be seen.
3. You can resist the voice, but the call remains.
4. You can numb all senses, but Christ's love remains.

That's our message today:
1) You can run, but you can not hide.

You and I can think that we'll get away with doing what is wrong in life. We think, maybe I can get by just this one time, and then just one more time. But the fact of the matter is that God knows everything. Read Psalm 139 and note these words:

"Oh, Lord, You have searched me and You know me. Lord,
You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my
thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying
down. You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on
my tongue; You know it completely, Oh, Lord."

You can run but you can not hide. A prosecutor called his first witness to the stand. She was an elderly woman who presented herself as a grandmotherly type and the lawyer asked her, "Ma'am, do you know who I am?" She answered, "Oh, yes, I know who you are. I've known you since you were a little boy, and honestly, you've been a considerable disappointment. You lie, you cheat, you manipulate, and you talk about people behind their backs. You think you are a real big shot. Oh, I know you."

The prosecutor was a little upset. He didn't know what to say. He muttered to himself and then asked, "Ah, ma'am, do you know the defense attorney?" She replied, "Oh, yes, I most certainly do. I've known him longer than I've known you. I used to baby-sit him. He, too, has been a bitter disappointment to me. The man has never had a normal relationship with anyone. He has had one of the sleaziest law practices in the entire state. I most certainly do know him."

With that the judge hit the gavel on the stand and he called the two attorneys to him, and said, "If any one of you asks her if she knows me, you're dead!"

2) You can close your eyes, but you'll still be seen.

It's amazing what we close our eyes to, isn't it.

How did Jesus say it? Jesus said in Matthew 7: "Why do you look at this speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? First, take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye."

You can close your eyes to the truth, but you're still seen. Today there are people who are running from God. They're closing their eyes and saying, "God doesn't exist. He's not there." They refuse to believe in the majesty and wonder of the Creator of the earth. And today is the best day in your entire life to stop running. Open your eyes and allow the Holy Spirit of God to remove the planks in your eye. Today is the day.

And you can do that with a prayer to God. God is always alive and active, and He will come to remove that sin, and failure. He will open your eyes.

Have you ever thought what it would be like if God had an answering machine when you prayed?

Think of this: "Thank you for calling heaven, please select one of the following options: Press 1 for requests, 2 for thanksgiving, 3 for complaints, and 4 for all other inquiries. I'm sorry, all of our angels and saints are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer your request in the order in which it was received, so please stay on the line. If you'd like to speak with God, press 5. Jesus, press 6, the Holy Spirit, press 7.

If you would like to hear King David sing a song while you are holding, press 8. To find a loved one who has been assigned to heaven, press 9, then enter his or her social security number followed by the pound sign. For reservations in heaven, please enter the letters J-O-H-N followed by the numbers 316. For answers to any questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth, life on other planets, or where Noah's Ark is, please wait until you arrive."

God doesn't have an answer machine. God is always available. He is always everywhere. He has infinite wisdom, knowledge and goodness beyond our human comprehension!

3) You can resist the voice, but the call remains.

You've heard the call and you know it's there. It is a still, small knowing, an instinct within the human spirit that tells us that God is real, that He has a plan for our lives. That He made us for a purpose, and for a reason. That is the call.

One hundred years ago, at the turn of the century, a young girl living in Philadelphia wanted to go to Sunday school. Her family was extremely poor and all she had was one pair of shoes. One day she decided to go to Sunday school within walking distance of her home, but she was a little late and she noticed all the chairs in the room were filled. There was no room for her, so she went back outside so embarrassed. There she sat on the steps crying. The pastor came walking through the halls of the Sunday school and saw this little girl sitting outside crying. He went up to her, discovered what was wrong and said, "Honey, we'll make room for you." Then he took her into the Sunday school, got her a chair as he watched her smile. He thought that was the end of the story.

But two years later a call came from her parents. The little girl had become very sick and died. Would the Pastor do the funeral service? So when the pastor called on this grieving family to comfort them, the parents said, "Our daughter wanted you to have this." And they handed the pastor 57 cents with a note that read: "This is to build a bigger church for our little church."

The pastor was so moved and challenged by the faith of this child that he announced in church the following Sunday that this was the beginning of a building fund for a larger church. The newspaper heard the story and reported it. Pretty soon funds started rolling in and the church board found a piece of property where they could build a larger church. But the price was much too high. Then the realtor came and said, "Do you know what? The seller wants you to have this property and is willing to sell it to you for 57 cents!"

Today, Temple Baptist Church of Philadelphia exists on that very property with seating for over 3,000 people and large Sunday school rooms. They also have a university and a hospital. From 57 cents! A handful of change from a poor little girl in the barrios of Philadelphia built one of the greatest institutions in the city!

From the little we give to God comes grand and glorious ministry!

Today God is calling you! Hear His voice, and respond to His call.

Lesson #4 from Psalm 139
You can numb your senses, but Christ's love remains.

Last year, a tropical storm - Allison - swept across the United States, flooding the homes and towns in its path. One of the women in an apartment complex escaped with her life. It was very traumatic and later she went back with her insurance agent to hopefully get some of her things. She was very upset as she told her insurance agent how she had left behind $8,000 cash in her purse. She was very concerned. So the agent got a maintenance man to go with him through the rubble that remained and they found her purse, and inside was not $8,000 -- only $35. But the maintenance man, looking in the closet that was still standing, said, "Hey, look at this." And they found 181 envelopes filled with $50 and $100 bills. Wow! They quickly filled a bag with the money and took it to the bank. It took the bank tellers over three hours to count the money which totaled approximately $420,000.

That night the agent took his new wealthy friend out to dinner to tell her the good news. When the dinner ended, guess what, she refused to pay $7 for a spaghetti dinner. She said that it was far too pricey and she wouldn't pay it. Here is a blessed woman with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. She had enough money to eat at a Ritz Carlton and have lobster bisque every night. Here she was blessed beyond words. She was rich and yet she thought she was poor.

You can have all the blessings in the world, but when your senses are numb you don't even realize that God is blessing you. If you think you're poor, you are poor. Even if you aren't aware of the incredible blessings that God has in your life right now, it doesn't diminish the facts and the truth one bit.

Are you among those, today, who have been blessed beyond reason, but you do not feel the Presence of God? Then your senses have been numbed.

Don't numb your senses to the fact that Christ loves you. Christ's love is still here. The reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ still exists, whether you believe in God, or not; He is still real.

Today is the day to feel the love of Christ. Today is the day to stop running. Today is the day to open your eyes to the reality of sin. Today is the day to respond to the call of God.

That's the message from Psalm 139.
"Oh, Lord, You've searched me and You know
me." Search me, Oh God, and know my heart.
Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if
there is any offensive way in me and lead me in
the way everlasting.

This is the day to respond and feel the Holy Spirit of God.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that at this very moment I can respond to Your call. I open my heart, my soul, and my mind to You today. Touch me, free me, renew me; give me Your blessing. I thank You, God, and praise Your name. Amen.

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