We find ourselves in a time of unknowing, with a virus spreading across our country that has caused many deaths in other countries. Some are blase about it, some are in a panic. Maybe most are in between. Our church wants to be aware, cautious, and faithful. The situation can change from week to week during this pandemic and we desire to be vigilant and also hopeful. For all the things we do not know, there are some things we do know!
There Is No One Like God! We are going to look into a Psalm this morning for our encouragement.
“The psalms teach us about God and our relationship with Him; that is the heart of theology. The Psalter may be thought of as a portrait gallery of God, presenting us with multiple images of who God is.”― Tremper Longman
Let’s spend a few minutes in Psalm 86 and think about the God we love and serve and let it give us strength and courage.
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,Psalm 86, ESV
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me. 8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me;
a band of ruthless men seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant,
and save the son of your maidservant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame
because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
THERE IS NO ONE LIKE GOD!
We can request His help when feeling weak. (1-3). This season of the CORVID-19 Coronavirus may frighten us a bit. The panic at the stores might give a clue as to how our community is feeling. We can come directly to God and request His help, share our hearts, be honest about how we are feeling, and ask Him to help. ‘Cry all the day’ – not just a moment of sadness, but a need that is overtaking our lives.
We can lift up our soul to God (4-7). We place ourselves before God in faith that He hears and desires to help us. God is:
*Good (vs 5a For you, O Lord, are good)
*Forgiving (vs 5 and forgiving)
*Loving (vs 5 abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.)
*Listening (vs 6 I call upon you, for you answer me.)
When we are troubled, we can call upon Him with confidence. Our prayers should be filled with the phrases of the Psalms. “The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become.”― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Nothing else compares to God (8-11).
*Not other gods (8 In the day of my trouble There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.).
*No other nations (9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.).
*No other wondrous events (10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.).
*Not my thoughts or ways (11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.)
We Give Thanks to God! (12-17).
*We give thanks with our whole heart (12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.)
*We give thanks for His deliverance (13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.)
*We give thanks for his rescue (14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.)
*We give thanks for the kind of God He is: Merciful, Gracious, Patient, Loving, and Faithful (15).
We give thanks because he gives strength and salvation (16).
We give thanks because God gives help and comfort (17).
We serve a God we can lift up our troubles to, lift up our prayers to, who is greater than any other god, nation, event, or even our own thoughts. We give thanks to him with our whole heart for his deliverance, rescue, mercy, grace, patience, love, and faithfulness! We are grateful for his strength and salvation and help and comfort!
Because there is no God like our God, then it is true that …
THERE IS NO LIFE LIKE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE!
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:14-16, ESV
Many of the earliest Christians were persecuted, driven from their homes, and even died for their faith! In the early centuries of Christianity the church was known for caring for the sick even in situations involving plagues and other contagious illnesses. Even in the advanced medical climate of today, Christians are still building hospitals, going on medical mission trips, supporting children’s homes and participating in local and foreign missions that improve the lives of both believers and unbelievers.
This coronavirus gives us an opportunity to shut down or shine! We believe the church is the people! We believe that when we live out the Christian life every day that Jesus is glorified and the church is uplifted as the people of God. I want to encourage you today, that since we serve a God like no other, we should be a people like no other.
THERE IS NO LIGHT LIKE THE CHRISTIAN LIGHT
How to Let your light shine in a frightened world:
PRAYER. We need to continually bring this before our Father. For those doing medical research to be successful. For our medical personnel at ground zero in hospitals and clinics. For First responders who are at risk in a variety of ways. For our friends and neighbors, particularly the vulnerable and elderly. For our country to see this as a rally cry for unity, not polarization.
“Psalms are basically prayers and hymns, by their very nature they are addressed to God or express the truth about God in song.” ― Gordon Fee
Be in constant prayer for others, for your family, your church, and yourself.
CHURCH. There may come some times when the church cannot assemble safely. That does not mean that the church ceases to exist! The church is the people – and that’s you. So remember that you are a part of the church even in difficult times. Remember to check on friends from church / lifegroups / classes. Remember to give to the church regularly / electronically / via mail / catch up. Remember to pray for our elders as they shepherd us through this time. Remember to continue with personal Bible study, prayer, and devotion.
SERVICE IF YOU ARE WELL AND ABLE:
*Call your neighbors and elderly friends and offer to bring groceries.
*This could go on for a month or longer. Do those who are ill need their yard mowed?
*Is there something you can do at their home?
*Do your ill neighbors and friends need you to pick up medicine for them?
*Do you need to call in family members for an elderly person who lives alone? Family at a distance may not be aware of their condition.
*A simple phone call or text just to check in.
No one is happy about the impact of the coronavirus in our country. Other countries have suffered thousands of deaths. Many efforts being made now are to help prevent that from becoming a reality in the United States. It is disruptive to our schedules, schools, workplaces, teams, and most every area of life. This is a time when we need to focus on our relationship with a Great God – there’s no one like Him. And He loves you. He’ll walk through this with us.