Promises by Sherry Cash

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Sherry Cash has been attending Calvary Baptist Church for 60, almost 70, years and resides in Grand Prairie, TX with her husband Woody. Woody is Assistant to the President at Arlington Baptist University and is on campus nearly every morning.  Sherry attends chapel with him regularly.  Sherry also helps Woody teach the Encouragers Sunday School class, sings in the church choir, and hosts a prayer meeting Wednesday evenings at 6 pm.  In her spare time, Sherry enjoys reading and spending time with her family.  

Promises

In my bible seminary days, I began collecting God’s promises from the Bible.  In fact, I have scraps of paper all over the place with His promises written down.  One day years ago, I ran across a worn out, little brown book from the 1600’s by Samuel Clarke called Precious Bible Promises.  It was so uplifting and I began scribbling down promises from that book as well.  Eventually, my well-loved book fell apart (until years later I was able to find a copy of it in the Internet).  When I did, I came to learn that a promise from God means more to me if I find it in God’s word. In my daily devotions, if there is a promise there, it will always mean more to me than getting one out of that little brown book ever did. 

When I retired from being Girls' Dorm Parent at Arlington Baptist University after 18 years Woody and I kept busy with our Sunday School Class.  Especially after I had my heart attack I needed something to do while I’m here at home, so I asked the Lord specifically to give me another ministry.  About five years ago, the Lord said why don’t you share My promises you have been collecting.  He impressed on me to send out promises via texting.  I had never really sent or received texts, but I began small; sending promises out to my children and grandchildren.  Eventually, other people would tell me they wanted to receive the texts as well so my little list started to grow.  I now send out about 40 promise texts very day.

If you would like me to put you on my promise list, please contact me or send your information to Calvary Baptist Church via the contact form and tell them you would like to be added to Sherry’s Promises Texts.

Warrior. Poet. King, Pt. 3 David and Jonathan

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Warrior. Poet. King.
Pt. 3 David and Jonathan
John 13:34

I hope I’m not the only one when I say this, but when I was in high school I allowed myself to be talked into some dumb things. Through those years there were some bones broken, some visits by police officers, typical drama, and a whole lot of stupidity. Needless to say, I had a lot of fun times while I was in high school. But I’ve learned something since then. I’ve learned what friendship is really about.

During that time, my standard for friendship was pretty low. I’m not saying my friends were bad people, but I didn’t have any idea what made a good friend. I tried finding friends who were in my grade. But that wasn’t deep enough. I tried finding friends who had the same interests. But that wasn’t deep enough. I tried finding friends who had similar hobbies. But that wasn’t deep enough. In college I even tried finding friends who were studying ministry like I was. But even that wasn’t deep enough.

True friendship is deeper than fun times, hobbies, and interests. True friendship is a deep, soul connection.

Check out how two friends in the Bible cared deeply for the soul of the other.

I Samuel 18:1-4 “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.”

What’s happening here is Jonathan is taking off everything that marked him as royalty. He wore a robe, belt, and sword that were probably custom made just for him. They were probably the best of the entire kingdom. And then he gives these things to David as a symbol of his recognition that David is the anointed one of God. He acknowledged that David would inherit the kingdom. NOT HIM. This is probably the greatest sacrifice Jonathan could have made for another human being, short of giving his life.

I love the language in these verses; Jonathan’s soul was knit to David’s. Meaning this was a friendship that was deeper than sharing similar hobbies, classes, or interests. This was a friendship based on deep, soulful connection. True friendship sacrificially cares for the other person.

So here are some questions I encourage my students to ask themselves and answer honestly: Do I normally get in trouble with my friends? Do my friends know/care that I go to church? Would I introduce them to my grandparents? If I share personal things with them, do they change the subject? Ask these questions about yourself as well. Are you being a friend that cares for them?

Remember in the last section of this series how Saul was crazed to kill David? During that whole escapade, Saul tried to convince Jonathan to kill David as well. Check it out:

I Samuel 19:1-3 “And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David. 2 And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.”

About two years ago, at teen camp, we had a vivid glimpse at what this looks like. Our speaker told the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer. How they stood back to back, fighting against an enemy that outnumbered them. How they fought for each other. It so moved our teens that they started a deal in our student ministry of defending one another by shouting, “Armor bearer” and sweeping in (playfully) to fight for their friend. Jonathan was an expert at defending his friends. And in this particular story, Jonathan chose to defend David, even from his own father because he truly cared for him.

What does this mean for you? You can start with defending against rumors, against bullying, against temptation, against sin, etc. Just think: what if you had someone willing to fight for your purity and sanctification? What if YOU were willing to fight for THEIR purity? That would be quite a strong relationship I should think.

I Samuel 20 talks about the strength of Jonathan and David’s relationship. It was a relationship that some people have even speculated might have been homosexual because of their closeness. Obviously I don’t think it was of that nature, I just think that a deep emotional connection between two people, especially two men, is rare and uncomfortable.

Emotional connection is something I never really understood until I came to TX. I have a lot of difficulty connecting on that soul level like David and Jonathan. So here’s what I try to do: I make a phone call at least 3 times a week. I really try to make it every day, but I’m no good at it. And in that conversation, I do what I call a “check-in”. I talk about anything significant that happened that day, I literally say, “That made me feel…” And I also confess any sins that I am aware of. The other person doesn’t try to fix me, judge me, or gossip about me. These are people I trust and usually they simply speak truth and encourage me.

For instance, I called my friend Joey the other week, and said, “Man, I feel like I’m just not going anywhere. I feel like nothing is really working.” And he said, “Do you think you’ve just gotten complacent?” And he nailed it. Do you know why? Because he then told me he was feeling the same exact thing. This is how I try to connect emotionally with my friends. And when I make conscious efforts to do that, I find that I am much more ready to connect on a more natural level.

Do you open up about your feelings? Do you confess sins? Or do you care more about having fun than the actual health of the other person?

Now before we end, I have to say, this blog isn’t really a lesson on “How to be like Jonathan and David”. This is a lesson on “How to be like Christ”. He does all of this the best. Jesus cares for us. Defends us. And wants to connect with us. Look at this:

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

When we do these things for others we are reflecting the Gospel like David and Jonathan and we are loving like Christ. Jesus made a covenant with us when He died. He said that there would be no condemnation for those who are in Christ. And Jesus is a man of His word. He will forever be faithful because He made a covenant with us.

When Jonathan gave David his robe, belt, and sword, that was actually a covenant action. He was, in that moment, swearing to David that he would forever care for him, defend him, and connect with him. The best way for your friendship to connect on a deep, soulful level is to make that covenant with a friend. To promise to each other these things. And to stick to your word through the thick and thin.

In conclusion: there is one of three places you might find yourself in: 1. You need new friends. 2. You need to go deeper. 3. You need to experience this friendship with Jesus. Where are you? John 15:15 says Jesus is our friend. He wants to connect with you emotionally. You know what you need to know. You have what it takes. Now is the time for action. Go quickly and do what needs done.


A Place to Start for Spiritually Stuck People by Paul Maxwell

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I wanted to share with you good article I came across recently.

In Christ,
Brandon H.

A Place to Start for Spiritually Stuck People

Article by Paul Maxwell


I’m spiritually stuck. We are stuck people. We get distracted, pulled down, undone. God feels distant and irrelevant. Dane Ortlund says, “You are not abnormal. So, relax. We all go through this from time to time.”

Seasons of spiritual darkness are common — even when many pretend they’re an anomaly. Even when indifference pirates our most pious intentions, and we surrender ourselves to isolation in our lack of holy zeal, don’t be deceived: gloom in the Christian’s heart is common.

It does often look and feel different for different people:

  • Your daily fear of future tragedy erodes your affection for God.
  • Your experience in corporate worship is empty and distracted.
  • You feel unimpressed, aloof to the things of God.
  • Patterns of repentance crumble and fade.
  • The preached word seems boring.
  • Hymns prompt only an irregular cadence of exhausted sighs.
  • Spiritual advice trips over its own triteness on its way to cynical ears.
  • Christian articles online induce more guilt than help.

Day after day, sermon after sermon, small group after small group, we’re discouraged and frightened by a widening gap between the desired self and the real self. We feel the torque pulling between our desired relationship with God — the desired emotions, the desired disciplines, the desired relationships — and the real.

It feels like the solution should be simple — another round of repentance, a worship song, a Paul Tripp devotion. Something. Anything. But those things either don’t feel effective or mysteriously elude us. Here are six places to start — intentions to experiment with — when you feel spiritually stuck and alone. “Intentions” are things that we easily lose. They are good, but they can be slippery. Find yourself in one, or a few, of these intentions. They’re not all right for you. But discover which one might be most relevant to you now. Read through them, and search for words for your heart. Read them in sequence, and look for the helpful nutrients you need.

1. Be honest about your heart.

We read, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog” (Psalm 40:1–2). Well, then. What a wonderful experience for David. #Blessed. But not all of us have yet been pulled from the bog.

Let’s be honest about what we feel toward God — our tangled thoughts, our slogging feet, our raw experiences, our dulling passions, our disappointed expectations. Anyone who gives you a single answer for all of humanity — to fix every single sorrow — is a fool. That’s what makes us wanderers. You can’t podcast away sin’s tedious yoke. What, then, does it look like for us to encounter Christ when we cannot yet praise God for pulling us out of our emotional marshland? It begins with honesty.

Ask yourself, “If I had absolutely nothing to lose, what would I say to God?” Or even further, “If I had total domain over my personal spiritual life, what would I want it to look like?” More than that, “How do I feel about how that compares to my real spiritual walk?” Keep digging. Honesty is difficult, because sometimes it’s buried beneath our own spiritual pretensions. Find the honesty in you — sift through your own heart like you’re sifting for gold.

2. Complain out loud to God.

Now, speak your honesty. We need the blessing of God’s fatherly ear toward us, inviting us to speak what we might not say out loud in church:

I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. (Psalm 6:6)
I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. (Psalm 69:3)
I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out. (Proverbs 30:1)

Maybe perseverance in praying out loud — or starting to pray embarrassing feelings out loud to learn that God has no pretense — will be your means of blessing and freedom.

If you’re angry at God, say it with David. It doesn’t help to add hypocrisy to unfounded anger. “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.” David has replaced his meal-time prayers with complaining to God, and he doesn’t apologize for it. He says, “I’m talking to you three times a day, and I know you can hear me.”

3. Complain out loud to others.

If you want to double down with a high-risk spiritual investment portfolio, say these honest things out loud with other people. “Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high” (Psalm 7:7). Revival may be found in community. This isn’t meant to justify whining. Don’t whine. Complain until you expect, again. Complain until you find yourself bringing your spiritual dryness to God: “Over it return on high.” “Return.”

Complain to others, “Is my complaint against man? Why should I not be impatient? Look at me and be appalled, and lay your hand over your mouth” (Job 21:4–5). Job is saying, “I don’t care if this scandalizes your pristine, glass-encased view of prayer. He can’t use traffic as an excuse for his absence — he is all places at all times with all knowledge and all power — so I’m asking him to show up right now and get me out of this rut.” He just might.

4. Get out of your own head.

More knowledge may not be the solution to your problem. In an age of career-design, lifestyle-engineering, and life-hacking, that may seem ridiculous to you. But if you’ve tried everything, consider this thought: It’s possible you may not even need to repent of anything in order to “fix” your feelings. You might just need to get out of your head.

To a certain extent, your current spiritual emotions may be the circumstances that you’ve been given — the cards you’ve been dealt — and faithfulness does not look like scrubbing your soul of any indicators of unrest or grief, but of letting those indicators help to lead you into being more comfortable in your own skin, and as an extension, a deeper, more real relationship with the God who made you and gave you this story.

The uncontrollable spinning of thinking about God and the Bible can distance you from yourself, from people, and from God (attention: seminary students). If you don’t know that you can think too much about theology, you’ll just feel guilty for not being able to think your way out of a problem that is caused by overthinking to begin with.

Turn off your phone, go to the nearest open field, kick off your shoes, and lay in the grass. Do it right now. “Your righteousness is like the mountains” (Psalm 36:6). I have an inkling that this prayer has roots in a completely non-intellectual, nature-enjoying, social-media-absent experience in David’s life — looking at mountains, perhaps. Lay back in the grass and, gazing at the sky, allow your mind to wander there. “Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down” (Psalm 144:5). And maybe you will find enough rest in that moment to sink down a few verses: “Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters” (Psalm 144:7). And maybe he will.

Let the entire industry of trivializing Jesus Christ through list-formulations dissolve out of your mind. Let the expectations of virtual communities be silenced. The distant vision of an infinite, glorious, compassionate, and satisfying God — increasingly a pipedream — it is real, and it is available to you today.

5. Get back in your head.

God also heals us through remembering. The entire book of Deuteronomy is about how Israel needs to remember God if they are going to find satisfaction for their souls and be fruitful with what God has given them. Remind yourself that nothing you’re experiencing is surprising or disappointing to God. The best, most faithful, happiest Christians in the universe have experienced spiritual darkness, and it doesn’t necessarily say anything about you.

God intimately cares about and knows

  • your every deliberate sin (Psalm 32:5)
  • your every stubborn turning away (Psalm 139:2–4)
  • your every desperate moment (1 Samuel 2:8)
  • your every unmet hope (Proverbs 13:12; Psalm 34:18)
  • your every cynical thought toward him (Genesis 6:5)
  • your every crippling fear (Psalm 56:3; Psalm 77:16)
  • your every lonely moment (Psalm 25:16; Psalm 102:7)
  • your every overwhelming crisis (Isaiah 43:2)
  • your every despair (Psalm 69:14–15)
  • your every feeling of rejection (Psalm 147:3).

He knows everything about us. And he still sustained us today. He still gave us breath. He still woke us up. He still gave us what we need to live a full, 24-hour day.

For some purpose, in his knowledge that is greater than ours, and in his care and provision and compassion that are more imaginative and sufficient than we can conceive, he has not allowed the atoms that hold us together to dissolve. That would be terrifying, knowing we live our lives teetering on the cliff of non-existence at the whim of a more powerful, all-righteous being, except that he tells us why he gives us another day, another breath, another reason for hope: he loves us.

6. Practice receiving the love of God.

This may be the most important thing you can do. Without this, all the other spiritual exercises you could possibly integrate into your personal life will quickly disintegrate. So, let’s have at it.

God loves you so much. He loves you. He loves you. He is with you in the dim and the dark. He sings songs of joy about you.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

It’s so easy to trust our reflex — that God is big, and therefore removed, distant, and has better things to do than care about our daily anxieties. Sure, he “cares” about us. But he cares about everyone. So, his generic providence can feel like a cheap consolation prize to forgetful people — a happy-meal toy that punishes us when we do bad and pats us on the head when we do right.

The beauty of God’s love is that it survives spiritual dry times. Don’t let the lie sink into your mind that spiritual dryness indicates that God has gotten over you, or that he’s tired of working with you. Far from it.

Think of a moment in your life when you were brought to tears — when you were overwhelmed by your body’s desire to cry, because you felt so deeply. God feels that about you. The Bible tells us that “in the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Hebrews 5:7). Jesus, who is God’s perfect expression of his attitude toward you, cries over you. He doesn’t just love in action. He loves in emotion. God is upset by you — in a good way. It can’t be overstated: He loves you.

We live in a frightening world. Life threatens us with loss, with decay, with slow suffering, with aging, with slipping into a place we don’t want to be. God is beyond and above romantic love; he doesn’t have it — romantic love merely depicts the commitment and intensity of God’s love. “God is in love with you” isn’t saying too much, but not enough — God is in love with you. God is utterly devoted to you in Jesus. He’s fascinated with you like a father with his daughter. He’s brought to tears by his love for you. If something tangles you up and distracts you from that, cut it loose.

Start there, end there. You don’t need more good news than this, whether it’s the first day you belong to Christ or the fiftieth year you walk with him: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

Paul Maxwell is a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and philosophy professor at Moody Bible Institute.

Repreinted from © Desiring God Foundation. Source: desiringGod.org  All Rights Reserved.

"The Burden of Gethsemane" Sermon by Brian Loveless

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During Passion Week 2013, Pastor Brian Loveless talked about an event, as Brian says, that is incredibly significant and meaningful beyond description - the night before Christ's crucifixion.  Take a look back at "The Burden of Gethsemane" a sermon from Pastor Brian Loveless from March 24, 2013 at Calvary Baptist Church Grand Prairie, Texas.