Date: 08/18/2016

Bitterness

    CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH

TRUST THE BIBLE

“Bitterness

      Pastor Malcolm Harrison

 Recently I preached the message “When you can’t forgive” using the shameful event of David & Bathsheba’s terrible adultery as my text [II Sam 11] which it would help you to read before continuing. By way of introduction let me say that one of the most painful things in life is betrayal! If you’ve lived very long you may already know the great pain & heartache of having been done wrong…maybe even by someone you loved and trusted! Often in the wake of betrayal & heartache come great wrath, anger and bitterness. Let me tell you a story: Back before David slew Goliath there was a man of great wisdom named Ahithophel. So very wise and great was he that the Bible says his counsel was “as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God” [II Sam 16:23]. Ahithophel later became one of David’s counselors and most trusted friends. But David fell into a terrible sin – adultery with a married woman known as Bathsheba! She was the young beautiful wife of up and coming military hero Uriah. Uriah was a great warrior and though young himself he had already risen to David’s own elite force of valiant fighting men! Together Uriah & Bathsheba had dreams and a bright future! But while Uriah was off fighting for King and country, his King was committing adultery with his beautiful young wife! David and Bathsheba ruined forever that bright future with a night of adultery. If you’ve read the text, you know that Bathsheba ended up pregnant and to hide it, David brought Uriah home from the front to spend time with his wife so that it would appear the baby was Uriah’s and not David’s. When that failed, David had Uriah murdered in battle. Bathsheba had a loving Dad and doting Grandfather. The Bible doesn’t tell us how many times Bathsheba’s granddad gave her piggy back rides and took her fishing as a child, but it does tell us who he was. Can you guess? The beautiful young Bathsheba’s grandfather was none other than the great Ahithophel {David’s friend and counselor}. When Ahithophel discovered the dark secret of what his dear friend the great King David had done with his precious granddaughter; how he’d defiled her and gotten her pregnant & ruined a family’s hopes and had murdered her husband to hide it all he was consumed with rage! It was a painful betrayal of his son, his granddaughter, his grandson-in-law, of the throne and of God! Anger & outrage spread like a wildfire in Ahithophel! It consumed him so deeply he said horrible things [II Sam 16:15 to 17:6] and even asked David’s wicked son Absalom to let him have some men with which to go hunt David down and kill him personally [II Sam 17:1-4]. But meanwhile David had been confronted with his sin, and he and Bathsheba had paid in tears with the death of their baby for that night of fun and that murder [II Sam 12]. Sin always has a price and it’s always much higher than you think it’ll be! David sought and obtained mercy & forgiveness from God. We don’t know if he ever went to Ahithophel and asked his friend’s forgiveness, but if he did it fell on deaf ears. This betrayal had hurt Ahithophel too deeply for him to forgive. The bitterness of seeing Bathsheba in David’s arms, while her husband and baby lay cold in the grave turned his heart to stone and his great wisdom to darkness. I would caution you as your friend and as a pastor, anger and bitterness will eat you alive – you must forgive! By the end of II Sam 17 Ahithophel hung himself. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Many verses come to mind in dealing with the results of anger and betrayal, of bitterness and wrath and all of them point to a simple truth: The heart that’s been born again and filled with the Spirit of God cannot long endure the heavy burden of bitterness and anger without suffering harm. See Colossians 3:13   “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” and Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. I encourage you to search for God’s strength in mercy by asking God to help you find compassion and forgiveness! This is the will of God. Yes, it is hard but with God all things are possible! Robert E Lee, a great Christian man, was once asked “whatever shall we do…just look what they’ve done” by a war ravaged family whose large old Oak tree had been shattered to shreds by Union cannon fire. He reflected a moment in silence and then said, “cut it down”. That’s good advice! Get the sad reminders out of sight, cut the bad memories down and move on! Come visit us at Calvary Baptist Church! 903-729-5924

God’s Fences

CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH

TRUST THE BIBLE

“God’s Fences”

    Pastor Malcolm Harrison

 

 

Against my better judgment many years ago I let one of my son’s talk me into letting him have a puppy. We had a large back yard with a privacy fence and my son assured me he’d tend to the dog’s needs, and like many dads, I fell for it hook, line and sinker! “Max” as ‘it’ was eventually named, was a pathetic excuse for a dog. It was some kind of multi-mix mutt which I strongly suspected of having been conceived in a lab or some sinister experiment. It was spotted like a Dalmatian, built like a Dachshund and had the face of a lab; a good example of a female dog that spends time ‘outside the fence’. Nonetheless we all became fond of the mongrel and had many laughs at his expense. Max had a problem though; he was constantly digging under the fence and roaming the neighborhood vandalizing trashcans and stirring up trouble; just the kind of behavior one can reasonably expect from a suspicious looking spotted dog. The children would often have to roam the neighborhood calling out and trying to find him and then they’d chase, bait, beg, threaten or carry him back to the yard again. Over just a few years we’d filled in more “under the fence” holes than we could count. Bricks, tires, blocks, posts, debris…it didn’t matter; Max would just dig a new one. I ordered my sons to hide and scare Max back in when they caught him at it – it didn’t work. I even resorted to beatings, within reason, to drive him back into the yard – it didn’t work. Sure enough one day Max was standing in the road and was hit by a speeding car. To put it gently – it was bad. Cuts, rips, deep gashes, many teeth knocked out, hide peeled, bleeding profusely, Max was hurt bad. My daughter was screaming, Max was bellowing but it was far too late then the damage was done. I should have put him out of his misery but I didn’t have the heart and the children begged me not to. So, bleeding and hurt bad, they carried him home and for several weeks we doctored, wrapped, bandaged, fed him soup and waited. Slowly he recovered and after his release into the yard, never dug another hole or tried to get out again. Ecclesiastes 10:8 says “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him”. Sadly many Christians I’ve seen are just like that dog…always digging under the fence and roaming around in worldliness & carnality. Always looking over their shoulder back to the “flesh pots” of Egypt…always looking for a way to “get away with sin” in their lives. Filthy worldly music, filthy movies full of cursing, nudity, promiscuity, unequal yokes {wrong friends, wrong associations, wrong relationships, wrong marriage}; some “Christians” are always more interested in the things God is trying to keep out of their lives than what He’s trying to put into their lives. There are some Christians I know who are always “digging under the fence” God has put around them. Max had it made inside that fence, we gave him everything a dog could want but it was never ‘enough’. So it is with a Christian living inside the boundaries of the walls God has placed around you. Inside God’s will you find shelter, love, providence, mercy, grace, blessings, purpose, closeness and companionship and fellowship. Out side God’s will awaits heartbreak, divorce, pain, suffering, struggle, hardship and difficulty [Prov 13:15]. What Max couldn’t understand was, the fence wasn’t there to keep him from having fun, it was there to keep the world away from him! What some Christians can’t seem to get is that God hasn’t walled you inside the Bible to keep you from enjoying life, he’s walled you about with the scriptures to keep the world out of your life! The walls are for your protection. Our house has doors with locks. They’re not to keep me in, but to keep the world out! They keep me safe & protected. The Bible’s limitations on Christian living are not against you – they’re FOR YOU! Praise God! Sadly, I see more and more young people {even some adults} many from good Christian homes setting their eyes on things outside the fence of God’s will. They choose foolish idols, foolish influences, foolish relationships and foolish friendships, things that bring heartache, addiction, pain, suffering, shame and failure…sooner or later, they get hit by one of those ‘cars’ on life’s highway. Some survive…some don’t. Don’t believe that? Visit an abortion clinic, a prison, a jail, a rehab center. Weekly I speak with “Christians” who ‘dig under the fence and get out of God’s will’. He’s called, begged, chastised and rebuked but still…some won’t learn and won’t listen. I could tell you true accounts by the dozen of Christians who “got run over” by a car they never saw and they are still suffering from the wounds of a terribly painful lesson about ‘digging under God’s fences”. Stay in!!! Come visit with us at Calvary Baptist Church at 703 Gillespie Rd in Palestine, Texas 903-729-5924