Isaiah 40:31-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.
Psalm 90: VS 12: 12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Vs. 14: 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Verse 16:16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. 17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; ESTABLISH the work of our hands for us– yes, ESTABLISH the work of our hands.
Well, it is back to school time. Is everyone ready? Some of you have already begun. Some love it, some hate it, but it is what it is and learning is a privilege and a necessary part of life. Teachers, I have a good one for you to use on the first day if it hasn’t happened yet. Tell you class, “Welcome back to school. We will only have half a day of school this morning.” Wait a second to let them celebrate and then just say, “We will have the other half this afternoon.” Students and teachers, have some fun with it!
Young people, these can be some of the best years of your life and they can be formative/foundational years upon which your life can be built. These can be the moments that will help you become established in a life direction and will serve as the basis for years and decades and a lifetime ahead. Pray as you begin this year that God will establish you in such a way as it will prepare you for your future. That is what I want to talk about today, being established. In Romans 16:25, Paul talks about being thankful that the people to which he was writing had been established by the gospel. He knew the transforming and anchoring power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Real life comes to us as we allow God to establish us.
God has always been established. Look with me at the beginning of Psalm 90: 1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
There has never been a time when God was not. He always has been and always will be God. He doesn’t age or tire. He doesn’t get better with experience or depleted over time. He is God, always and forever, God. If you were able to reach back into eternity, you would find God. If you were able to stretch ahead into eternity, He would be there as well. God is never constrained by time or a schedule. He is outside of time, although He created time. Time doesn’t impact God the way it does us. He is established. His power is fixed; never depleted. He never needs to be renewed. He is as established and as solid as anything or anyone could ever be.
Because He has always been established, He is the One who can establish us. Verses 3-11 of Psalm 90 help us understand we are weak, we are as dust, we are limited, our lives are frail and short. But God can establish us.
We need to be established.
Notice how verse 12 begins: “Teach us.” We need to have an established relationship with God whereby we acknowledge He is the teacher and we are the students. There is no such thing as a “self-made” man or “self-made” woman. For only those who embrace that they have been created in the image of God and that they can be redeemed by God and be in a relationship with Him where He is the Lord of our lives, can truly become established. Outside of a relationship with God, people will build their lives as castles of sand that will easily be destroyed as the trials of life sweep over their foundations and wash them away.
Too many people are wandering aimlessly through life. There is a lack of purpose, a lack of destiny, and a lack of responsibility to positively impact the world and to leave a legacy for generations to come. We are responsible for what happens next in our community, in our state, in our country and in our world. We are responsible for passing on the Christian faith which provides the moral framework and foundation for any successful society, and in order to do that, we have to know who we are because we have embraced Whose we are. You can’t pull any of that off without being established yourself by God.
We have people who are trying to parent children without being established themselves. They aren’t sure what they believe. They are falling for every wind and wave of doctrine. They are persuaded by the culture. Faith has been relegated to the back seat or has been thrown out of the window altogether. They don’t have a moral compass or an anchor that holds in times of heartache and grief. They don’t know how to respond to people when there has been a conflict. They don’t know how to move forward when they have been disappointed. They don’t know who to turn to when they feel overwhelmed. They are living and perhaps children are living with them, but they aren’t raising children who will be established the way God desires because they haven’t had that experience themselves.
Listen, I know there are no guarantees that just because we parent carefully and intentionally with a desire to introduce our kids to Christ that our kids are going to love church, worship with passion, read the Bible with great interest, witness to others, live a righteous life and never stray. You could do “all the right things” from a place of being established and still watch your kids choose heartbreak and sorrow, but I do know this: They will have a far less chance of becoming established in the Lord if you, yourself are not.
You need to know what God has said by studying His Word. You need to know what God has done because it will give you an understanding and increased faith about what He can do for you and will do for you. You need to be asking Him for the Spirit of Revelation through the Holy Spirit so you know how to live your life as an established Christian.
So, if you want to become established in life, the first thing you need is a growing relationship with the One, True, Living God. He will keep your life from being helter-skelter. He is a Rock. You can cling to Him. He is a Resource. He will give you answers. He is a Rescuer. Go to Him in trouble. He is a Respite for your soul. Find rest in Him. Can you find yourself this morning crying out with the Psalmist, “Teach me what I need to know, God!?”
As we move on in verse 12 we see that the Psalmist is asking for help with his priorities. Teach us to number our days aright.
We need to have our priorities established. While God stands outside of time, we are connected with time. We live in time. We count time. Some people say “time is money” which isn’t really true because people can find a way to make more money, but they can’t find a way to make more time. If you think about that, then how you spend your time is even more important than how you spend your money. It is a precious commodity. You can’t borrow time. You can’t make more time.
So, we need God to show us how to use our time, how to schedule our lives, how to make time for that which is important, like the things that are eternal. If someone walked up to you on the street and said, “What are you living for?” what would you say? How you spend your time reveals what you consider to be a priority.
We only have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year and who knows how many years to work and relate with people and go on vacation and share the Gospel and pray and study the Word and care for others. It is only inside an established relationship with God that we can discern what is important. To what do we give our time? To what do we give our money? We don’t want our lives to be wasted, right?
There are some things I have had to say “no” to recently that I would have loved to have said “yes” to. They weren’t bad things, but they were things that weren’t in my lane, you know? If I said “yes” to those things, I would have become overly stressed about getting the things I am supposed to accomplish finished and with the kind of thoughtful and careful preparation with which I am supposed to accomplish them.
We taught our kids when they were small that there was “good, better and best.” My desire is to use my time for that which is best. I want to be effective. I don’t want to shoot at every target and hit none. I want some bullseyes. One of those priorities is my family.
Our daughter will start her senior year this week. Can someone just start humming, “Sunrise, Sunset” as I continue? The baby and toddler days were forever. The shoe-tying and signing of the school planner years were forever. The transporting to and from activity after activity was forever, but now, I wish I could hit the “pause” button. Spending time with her is going to be a huge priority for me. (Don’t tell her I am going to start hanging out with her and her friends. We’ll just spring that on her a little bit at a time.) I am trusting God to help me balance work and other responsibilities to ensure that I can spend as much time as possible with my awesome daughter.
Some of you here today need more time for the things that matter. Ask God to create breathing room in your schedule. Some of you need to simply be better at saying “no” to some good stuff in order to do the best stuff. Ask God to help you prioritize and set boundaries.
Teach us to number our days aright… Verse 12 goes on to say, “that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Established in wisdom.
We need to be established in wisdom. Verse 12 isn’t just about time management in light of our earthly responsibilities, but it is about prioritizing our lives wisely in light of eternity.
Proverbs 24:3-5 3 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is ESTABLISHED; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. 5 A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength;
Living wisely helps us exercise power and authority. It helps us live from a position of strength. Wise people form strong alliances, strong networks, strong partnerships. It is good to be established in wisdom.
You can parent or you can parent wisely. You can just be in a husband/wife relationship or a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or you can be in that relationship wisely. You can make investments or you can make wise investments. You can make decisions about education or career or you can make wise decisions.
Wisdom tells us when to hurry and capitalize on something and when to wait and pray. Wisdom tells us when times to speak and when to be silent. Wisdom tells us when we need to intervene and when we need to mind our own business. Wisdom will help us succeed in life. Wisdom will help us breathe and choose peace instead of panic. Child of God, hear me. There is always a way out. Always. If you are following the One, True, and Living God, He is a Waymaker. You don’t have to panic. As you become established in wisdom you will learn to trust God more and more and will learn take your hands off of everything and let Him do His thing in your life. You see, people who are established in wisdom know God can handle their lives better than they can.
Wisdom comes through a cultivated relationship with the Holy Spirit. It comes in and through the Word of God. Scripture says we can have the “mind of Christ.” That is the spirit of wisdom. And the Psalmist in chapter 90 was saying, “God, establish me in wisdom.”
Verse 14: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
Established in Love
We need to be established in the love of God. What did Paul pray in Ephesians 3:17-19? And I pray that you, being rooted and ESTABLISHED in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Oh friends, when we are established in the love of God, power flows into our lives! “That you, being rooted and established in love, may have power . . . “ When we are established in His love, He can root us, He can grow us, and He can fill us with all things good and with all things God. Who here wouldn’t want that?
Being established in love is paramount to experiencing a quality life. When I am established in love, I not only want what is best for myself and my family, but I also want what is best for you and your family. When I am established in love, I am not jealous of you or anything that comes your way. When I am established in love, I will be slow to anger and will speak kind words. When I am established in love, I will look for ways to bless you, build you up and cover you. When I am established in love, I will bless my enemies and pray for those who persecute me. When I am established in love, I will look for ways to demonstrate the love of God to others, and Paul teaches here in Ephesians 3 that as I do, blessing will flow into my life.
I mean, how can I even imagine containing the measure of all of the fullness of God? Some days I am so filled, so blessed, so on fire, so passionate and joyful over what I experience in the Lord I can hardly stay in my skin! But Scripture teaches that the further I am established in the love of God, the more there is to God’s expanse in me and in my life! Do you understand? I am trying to say that an established life just gets better and better and better!
If you are mean and nasty, if you are bitter and cranky, if you are pessimistic and negative, if you are critical and complaining, you need to get established in the love of God because as you do, you will see how wonderful God is, how much you have to be thankful for, and your heart will want to rejoice and do loving things for other people. I guess I call this the “overflowing principle.” God’s love in you will well up and spill out. You won’t be able to help yourself.
Look at the end of verse 14: that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Established in joy.
The Christian life is the most joyful life. It is the most fun life. It is the most fulfilling life. Psalm 16:11: “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Joy comes from the inside out. It isn’t something that you can create for yourself. It has to be implanted in you or imparted to you by Jesus Himself. Jesus is a joy-giver. He is full of surprises. Take the empty tomb for example. Greatest feat ever. What joy and elation belonged to the disciples and belongs to us because of that amazing feat! We don’t have to fear anything in life or anything in death. There is joy in His presence, and guess what, if you are trusting in Christ, He says He will never leave you or forsake you. AND wherever He goes, He takes His joy with Him. You can’t have joy without Jesus. Get established in Jesus and ask Him to establish you in His joy.
Look at verse 16: May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.
Established in family life.
I think what the Psalmist is picturing is that people will see the power of God at work in their family. What if every father, every mother, and every child in a nuclear family was submitted to God’s will and wanted to see God at work in power in their family? What could happen? Can you picture it?
Could we see families coming closer together instead of falling apart? Could we see love and respect and teamwork? Could we see family prayer and words of blessing spoken over each other? Could our families be a demonstration of the unity that is possible when God establishes a home?
Finally, God can establish us in our life’s work.
Established in our work.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; ESTABLISH the work of our hands for us– yes, ESTABLISH the work of our hands.
Notice that the Psalmist prayed for favor for His work. He prayed for God’s blessing over His work. It is supernatural help to succeed as we work. When was the last time you prayed on your way to work, “God, establish me in the workplace. Help me succeed. Enable me to be an exceptional worker today?”
God can be glorified and others can see His glory as we work. Is that our desire? The doctrine of work is a Scriptural principle. God is a hard worker. He spent six days in a row, working to create everything that exists. He worked for six days and just took one out of the seven days to rest. We were made in His image. We are to be workers as well. Our work actually becomes a form of worship when we relate it all back to God, His favor, His help, His strength, His creativity.
Ask God to help you be established in a career where He can be seen in and through your efforts. Ask Him for opportunities to excel in doing that which you have been designed to do and that which you love to do. Ask Him to give you opportunities to work in order that your family’s needs will be met and so that you can also enjoy life and bless others. Ask Him to bless your efforts, your business, your creation, your marketing, your networking, your business relationships, your customer base, and the development of your skills all for His glory.
We have been wired by God to work and to be fulfilled in doing so. After God created, He stood back and said about his work, “It was good.” He felt good about His work and all that He had created. In the same way, we have been designed by God to work and find fulfillment and satisfaction in a job well-done. Seek not just to have a job, but seek to be established in your work. Seek God’s divine favor and blessing on your work.
I want to be established by God. Psalm 1 tells us we can be like a tree planted by streams of living water which yields fruit and prospers. Does that sound appealing to you? Do you want to be established? Do you want to live a fruitful life? I want God to help me establish the right priorities. I want to be established in wisdom. I want to be established in love and joy. I want my family to be established by God for generations to come. I want my work to be established by God. I want what I do and say to have eternal value. I want people to see how I live and glorify God and desire to have Him plant them by streams of living water as well. Do you long to live the “established life?”
Every head bowed. Every eye closed.
Establish me God. I need to be taught how to live the established life. I want to start my relationship with you or I want to re-establish my connection with you.
Establish my priorities, God. I need to know how to spend my time. I want to make each moment count and to live for what is important.
Establish me in wisdom. I need to figure out what has eternal value and to have a discerning ability to make wise decisions. I need to know when it is time to move or time to stay put. I need to know how to wisely approach people with my business or in my parenting or in my marriage.
Establish me in love. I need to be more gentle. I need to show care for others more than I do. I need a spirit of kindness to flow from my life. I need your love in me to spring up and help me love others the way you want me to without gossip, without drama, without jealousy, without manipulation.
Establish me in joy. I want life to be fun. I want to enjoy life. I want to be able to laugh again. I want to make life fun for other people. I want to see the glass not only half full, but filled to overflowing as I anticipate the miracles you will do in my life. I want to experience happiness that is deep and remains unbroken during times of challenge.
Establish my family, God. I want my children and my children’s children to know you, love you, honor you, and serve you all the days of their lives.
Establish the work of my hands, God. May what I do reflect your careful attention to detail, your creativity, and your integrity. Bless my work, God, with your favor.