Here’s the first Gone Fishin’ Newsletter for 2021.
Gone Fishin’ Monthly Newsletter – January 2021
“Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. O my soul, you have said to the Lord, ’You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You’.“ (Ps 16:1-2)
Welcome to 2021!
It is a new year, but that does not necessarily mean everything will change just because our new calendars have become active. God is sovereign, and He is not bound to act by our plans, schedules, or timetables. That is always a good thing, for we aren’t omniscient, and have no clue how every decision we make affects other outcomes. I, for one am glad that He is the one orchestrating everything, and not me!
As per the cry of David above, we can also rest in the knowledge that no matter what is going on in the world, we are safe in God’s arms.
The Psalmists Problem: “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.”
David had a problem. Every time Saul promised to be faithful to his word, he reneged on his deal. David had a forgiving heart, but was caught out every time. You might remember those old Charlie Brown cartoons, where Lucy always promised to hold the ball on the ground for Charlie to kick it, but pulls it away every time, leaving him flat on his back.
David’s problem wasn’t Saul’s attitude towards him. God had in fact hardened Saul’s heart so that he couldn’t reconcile with him. David’s problem was that his faith was in man, and not God.
That is just like us. It is human nature for us to expect that people will follow through with what they promised; but time and time again, they can let us down. It needn’t be the end of the world, but rather a revelation that we shouldn’t be placing all our faith in governments, institutions, employers, even our closest friends and allies.
Our faith should first and foremost be centred in God, who preserves us.
The Psalmists Profession: “…my goodness is nothing apart from You”
David realised that goodness is not found in his fellow man, as his fellow man constantly turns on him. But he also realised that there was no goodness in himself either, for he constantly fell into sin. Counsellors’ couches are perpetually full of people who come to express how oppressed they are because of something someone else said or did. A good counsellor should always point us back to our conscience, and our attitude towards them.
Our human nature can’t help but see fault in others. We get so distraught when see what others can get away with, and we come to God with a shopping list of all their indiscretions against us. However, when we see ourselves in the mirror of God’s law, we come to the realisation that we are no better than them. In fact, we are no better than the worst criminal in all of human history.
There is no goodness apart from God; everything else pales in comparison. When we place our faith in God, he places His goodness (through Christ) in us.
Our goodness should never be measured against our fellow fallen man, but against the Perfect and Holy God.
The Psalmists Presupposition: “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.”
There was an automatic expectation from David that God would preserve him. This was not based on unfounded hope, or decreeing and declaring any sort of rescue into existence. There is, in fact, no pre-requisite for God to spare David from anything in life. God can do anything He pleases, and no manner of objection from us can thwart His plans and purposes. It may even be in His will that we are to be taken from this earth.
David’s plea was for preservation. He knew that this is always something God will grant to His own. But preservation from what? Bullies? Slanderers? Murderers? Death itself? God does not make guarantees in this life. In fact, He promises persecution for His believers:
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. (John 15:20).
Our ultimate preservation is not necessarily from anything in this life, but from an eternal punishment in hell.
God preserved David, as He will do for all who place their faith in Him. This gives us great comfort and boldness to step out in faith to carry out His Great Commission.
It also gives us great hope, in that when we finally leave this world, we will have an eternity to thank God for preserving us from His wrath!
When work pressures and the fickle weather are not hindering, I have been going over to the Wellington Waterfront to do some tract distribution. I only take a half-hour lunch break, which gives me about 20 or so minutes over there. That’s more than enough time to distribute a handful of tracts.
Due to time restrictions, I don’t actively look to have one-on-one conversations, but a few people have engaged. One particular person was John. John said he was of Moriori descent (from the Chatham Islands). When I took John through the law, he was very honest, and respondent. After explaining that he was in danger of spending an eternity in hell, he said he wanted to place his faith in Christ. I prayed with John. I prayed that the Lord would convict his heart; and grant him repentance. Afterwards, I gave him some more material, and gave him the name of some good local churches. I hope to see John again – if not in this life, then the next! Please also keep John in your prayers.
This got me thinking; I had to consciously make time to do this. How much more time from the day can I redeem for Kingdom work? Hopefully this challenges you, too!
For anyone who is around this weekend, I’ll see you at my place this Saturday at 10am for prayer before heading out to the Naenae streets!
Witnessing Tip: Time is precious!
You are only granted 86,400 seconds a day. Once they are gone, they are irredeemable.
How many of them are you going to waste by not sharing your faith?