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The Lord led me to this morning’s passage on Wednesday during the 7:00 a.m. and noon prayer time.  We read and prayed through this passage together and God began to work it into my spirit.  It may now in my top three favorite Psalms.  I invite you to join me this Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. or noon for prayer as it has been a refreshing and powerful time of joining together. Psalm 138 1 I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. 3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. 4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth. 5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great. 6 Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. 8 The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands. Silent Prayer God is the Author of everything that exists, including your life and mine.  He is always at work, writing a story, developing a plot, introducing new characters, creating suspense, adding local color and penning the unexpected.  One thing is for sure:  He will finish the book He is writing about you!  The Lord will fulfill His purpose for your life as you trust and submit to Him.  The Psalmist expresses this word with great confidence. The Apostle Paul had the same great confidence when he addressed the Philippian church.  He said in Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Will you, this morning, let God author your story?  Will you let Him advance His plot for your life?  Are you open to twists and turns?  Can you put your story into His hands and let Him create purpose from pain?  Testimonies from tests?  Strength from adversity?  Is He holding the pen or are you trying to write the current chapter? David, the writer of this Psalm, let God hold the pen.  It’s obvious, even at the onset of this Psalm.  Verses one and two:  “1I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness. . .” David wrote this Psalm from a position of submission and worship.  Do you see how He is praising God?  He talks about being bowed down and praising God for His love and faithfulness.  These are the words of a man who is in a committed love relationship with God.  There is some history here.  He’s not just hanging out with God on Sunday and dabbling in relationships with other gods on Monday through Saturday.  He is committed, with his whole heart to lift up the One True God in front of all of the other gods that would seek to win his attention.  David is as crazy about God as God is of David.  We read in I Samuel 13:14 that David was a “man after God’s own heart.”  When are you after someone’s heart?  It’s when you love them and when you want to spend time with them.  David pursued a relationship with God just as God pursued a committed love relationship with David. He wanted God to write his story, and he believed with his whole heart that God would bring about all the good things He had in mind for David’s life.  Everyone say, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me!” David helps us see that God will fulfill His purpose for David’s life because: 1. God is a Faithful Writer! This is a man who can recall the times God has delivered him.  God’s work in David’s life was ongoing.  He never put down His pen.  David remembered God’s faithfulness that got him through situation after situation.  Whether it was a lion or bear that was after him, or a Giant named Goliath or King Saul, it seems that something or someone was always out to kill David.  But listen, when God has purposed something for your life, no one can take you down and no one can take you out.  God has a plot already determined for your story.  He knows when you, the main character in your story, need to be challenged.  He knows when you need to be refreshed.  He knows your character so well that He knows when you need to be rescued,  when need to have some fun, or need to learn a lesson, etc.  The best writers know how to develop the main character’s character throughout the story.  You see a progression not just of events and circumstances, but a personal development of the character that makes him better, wiser, stronger and more successful.  He won’t let anything or anyone get in the way of His plot for your life, but will use those circumstances and those people to bring out the best in you. David said in verse 7, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.” If it doesn’t serve God’s purpose in your life, if it doesn’t fit His story for your life, He’ll take down your nemesis.  He’ll deal with your enemies so that your life, your story is preserved.  David let God control His story as he trusted God in times of trouble rather than trying to take the pen out of God’s hands.  If you are in a submitted, committed relationship with God, He is writing your story and people who think they might try to get in the way, even Satan himself, they are simply a cast of characters that God will work into your story to show repeatedly that He is greater than anyone and that nothing can stand in His way. 2. David helps us see that God will fulfill His purpose for David’s life because God is an Influential Writer. Vs. 2 “You have exalted above all things your name and your word.” When God speaks, people listen.  His Word, the Bible, has been read by untold billions of people.  He’s on the best seller list every year.  David put it this way, “For you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”  John Grisham, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Danielle Steele, Shakespeare, Emily Dickenson, and Robert Frost may be best sellers, but they don’t come close to producing the quality and immense work God’s Word has produced.  God’s name and work are known throughout the universe!  His name is exalted above every other name!  No one’s Word commands more attention or more compelling that God’s.  No one is more talked about.  No one has a better reputation than our loving and faithful God.  There is no one more influential than God. When we were in college at Anderson University, my ornery sister would make use of influential people’s names.  When we had a wait at a restaurant and they asked for our name, she would almost always say, “Gaither party of four.”  Bill and Gloria Gaither, the Grammy and Dove Award Winning song writers and recording artists, were well-known around those parts. She thought using their name would open some doors.  Whether it actually did or whether we just coincidentally seemed to get seated fairly quickly, I don’t know! I do know, however, that using God’s name, using the name of Jesus, if you are a true Child of God will open some doors!  John 14:13-14 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” God will do that which will be for our benefit and His glory!  If it brings glory to the Father, as we just read, asking in Jesus’ name will produce results.  Because God is who He is and has the name He has, He can accomplish anything, anywhere, at any time.  And He will fulfill His plans for your life because His name is on the line! Just like His name, God’s Word is exalted and above every other word that has ever been penned or spoken.  The Word of the Lord is exalted! Psalm 19:7-11 speaks of the richness of God’s Word: The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. God’s Word is like smelling salts for our soul.  It picks us up when we are weary and gives us strength to go on. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The most educated person in the world doesn’t know anything that is worth anything if he or she doesn’t know the Word of God.  But the simplest person who learns God’s Word becomes wise in ways that will always trump the wisdom of this world. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. Need a little joy?  Study the Word of God.  It will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.  It’s like a pep talk from God. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. God’s Word is THE book for understanding life.  What you should embrace, what you should avoid-it’s all there in the Word of God.  When you read and study it, you’ll see clearly which way you should walk.  Just one sentence from God could be shared from His Word and it could mean something enlightening and transforming, yet different to everyone who hears it.  I ask you to pray silently before I preach that God will speak directly to you through the messages because I believe He has a specific Word for each person who will listen! 9 . . . The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. God’s Word isn’t wishy washy.  It works in all situations at all times everywhere.  He’s never wrong and never changes His mind.  His Word is sure and altogether righteous.  It can’t lead someone astray. 10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. Once you dig into God’s Word, you find it is truly a treasure.  You’d rather know and do His Word than have all the gold in the world.  Honey is delicious, but honey from the comb is insanely good!  God’s Word is better still!  A Word from God can calm an anxious heart and literally change the course of your life! 11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” God’s Word is greater than any self-help book!  It will keep us from calamity and bring us great rewards.  The benefits are total-body, mind and spirit.  It will change you from the inside out and help you walk in blessing that you never knew existed! What other Word do you know that has these many benefits?  It is exalted!  God, the greatest Author of all-time wants to write your story!!!  David knew that God would fulfill His purpose for David’s life because His Name and Word were above anyone else’s. 3. David helps us see that God will fulfill His purpose for David’s life because God Doesn’t Use Ghost Writers! Maybe I should qualify that statement!  He does involve the Holy Ghost in writing your story.  Without the Holy Spirit at work in your life, your story can’t be written by God and most certainly wouldn’t ever be finished.  But listen, God doesn’t pawn your story off onto anyone else.  He is personally involved with what you have on your plate right now.  David said in verse 3,  “When I called, YOU answered me; YOU made me bold and stouthearted.”  Our God is a “hands on” God.  We call and He gets involved!  We pray, He Hears and He answers. If the main character in a story is going to make it to the end, he or she is going to need encouragement from time to time.  There will have to be moments when there is either a break in the action or when someone comes on the scene to assist them.  The unexpected or undesirable chapters of our lives can zap us.  Any author worth reading knows just when to insert courage into the main character’s tool belt.  The writer knows just how much the main character can take and have the story still be believable or compelling.  Good authors know how to develop characters so that they become resilient, have tenacity and develop a resolution to see whatever they are going through all the way to the end.  Listen clearly. You can make it through anything if God is the author of your story.  You WILL make it through anything if God is the author of your story. Unlike other authors who have to write a while and walk away for a while because they get tired, the Author of your story stays on task without growing weary which is why He can keep penning moments that will give you courage and will strengthen you in your inner man.  We read in Isaiah 40: 28 He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Hold on, Child of God, God will renew you.  Call to Him.  Lean on Him for strength.  From the inside out He will remake you and give you the ability to keep going. One of the most vivid illustrations of how God is personally writing our story is seen in the illustration of how God is the Potter and we are the clay that is being molded to fit God’s purposes.  “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). Just like a potter has his hands on the clay and has to apply pressure with his hands in order to mold and shape the lump of clay into something useful, so too does God apply serious pressure sometimes to get us to change.  Is there anyone here who would voluntarily put yourself under great pressure in order to see change even if you didn’t understand why the change was necessary or want to change in the first place?  Right!  It’s only when we trust God to write our story that we are moved through phases of pressure that will result in the change God desires.  God can only be “hands on” if we take our hands “off” of the becoming and developing process. Just like a potter knows exactly what he is going to make even before he starts the process, God knows exactly what He desires for us to become.  And if we let Him author our story, He gets to take us on the adventures—all the highs and lows—that will create the right amount of pressure in order for us to arrive at our final destination. Did you know a potter never takes his eyes off the clay once he starts to work it?  If he did, he could make a big mistake and damage the pot in the process.  Our “hands on” Author, Father God, will never take His eye off of one of His children.  Psalm 138 so beautifully precedes Psalm 139 where we read that God knows when we sit and when we stand.  He knows what we are thinking and where we are going.  Why?  Because He is right there with us—wherever we are, there He is with His pen and paper in hand, writing our story. Psalm 138:6 “Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.” Our “hands on” Author sits high, but looks low.  To “look upon the lowly” means to pay attention to them and regard them with favor.  It is crazy, but it’s true that the Master Architect of the Universe is tending to your needs!! Have you seen the show, “Secret Millionaire?”  It’s where millionaires hide their identity from folks who work in charitable organizations at great sacrifice to themselves.  The millionaire spends a week volunteering, coming alongside, getting to know the workers, and gains understanding about what they do, why they do it and what they need in order to be successful.  At the end of the week, the millionaire reveals his or her identity and gives some money to the organization to assist and bless them. Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, willingly left the splendor of heaven.  God Himself, disguised in human form, descended to come live alongside us.  He didn’t need to gain any understanding about us or our needs, but His descending helps us understand the depth of God’s love for us.  Why wouldn’t we give the pen to someone who willingly stooped down to meet our needs and pay the price for our sin?  II Cor. 8:9 puts it this way, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Some of you know that our God is a “hands on” God.  He’s had his hands on you in ways in the last couple of weeks that have left His fingerprints behind.  Some of you are here this morning and can testify to what God has done.  Shawn Hoffman, tell us what two miracles God has done in your life just recently that are a direct result of the fasting and prayer emphasis that demonstrate the way God is meeting your needs in a “hands on” way.  (He got a new job which will provide more family time and he quit smoking.) Joyce Perry, stand and tell us what God has done for you that is a result of the prayer and fasting emphasis that shows God has the pen and is writing your story.  (She quit smoking.) Montena Perry, stand and tell us what happened to you on Thursday that is a result of the prayer and fasting emphasis that shows that while God sits high He looks low.  (God dramatically intervened where she had hip pain.) In order to make sure your life isn’t an unfinished novel, in order to make sure that God is writing your story just as He wrote David’s, you need to take the same approach to your relationship with God that David did. a.     We see in verses one and two David was a thankful character. He gave thanks for God’s unfailing love, His faithfulness, His promises, for answered prayers, encouragement, and strength. Give thanks to God every time you know His pen has written on your heart, every time you know He has introduced new characters into your story to encourage and challenge you and thank Him for all the ways He brought rescue and help to you.  Thank Him for being your Author. b.     Second, David was a humble character. We must stay humble and submitted to Him.  God sits on high, but looks on those who are low, those who are humble.  The proud He won’t get involved with.  Tell the Lord that today you’re handing over the pen and giving Him this moment, the final ending and everything in between. c.     Finally, David was a trusting character. Psalm 138:7 tells us God can be trusted in the midst of trouble.  You have to stay bowed down.  God will work out His plan for your life and will work in you in the midst of trouble if you stay submitted to Him.  If you don’t trust God in trouble, if you don’t trust Him in the hard times, you aren’t clay in the Potter’s hands.  You cease to be someone God can work with. You see if God is writing your story, you never have to worry about anything because He’s got the pen!  He’s in control.  He decides how it all will end.  That’s why David could say with confidence, “God will fulfill His purpose for me.”  I don’t know about you this morning, but I’ve decided to let God author my story.  My life will not be an unfinished book!
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