How Precious Are Your Thoughts
Posted on 03/02/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)
Good morning, and welcome to Abundant Living Ministries CyberChurch! As King David wrote, "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord today!'" It is a great joy and honor to gather here with you and to worship God and learn from his Word, and to enter into his wonderful presence together.
A special welcome to our visitors. We're so glad you decided to come worship with us today. Be sure to click the welcome sign in the foyer before you leave, and pick up our gifts for you.
The prayer and counseling centers are working now, so you can once again leave your prayer requests there. If you don't know, they're located in the foyer and in the prayer center.
If you consider this your home church in Second Life, you're invited to become a member. Just point your web browser to almcyberchurch.org and click the link to become a member.
Let's all stand to our feet and start this service with prayer. Mariposa, would you please lead us in prayer today?
Taylaa Williamson: Asking for healing - was just diagnosed with cancer in my uterus - asking for god to guide me and doctors.
Friend from India - Break the curse and other spells that were made against me. I am in the middle of spiritual warfare and would appreciate the prayers of agreement for victory over enemies. The enemy is trying to destroy my life and my walk with the Lord. Pray that the Lord will send his guardian angels and that they would guard me day and night. I need a healing.
Sarah - Please pray for my parents. My mother's health is in decline, and I belive she has gone into a depression. Another problem both she and my stepfather share is that their finances are in constant peril. They literally live from paycheck to paycheck. They have no life insurance, and my husband and I don't really have enough of any funds from our own wallets to really help them. Please also pray for my Dad and stepmother. Their problem is mostly spiritual. Please ask the Lord to bring them close to Him, and that they will share a full and active relationship with Jesus. Thanks for your prayers, and God bless.
Let's all stand to our feet as we prepare to worship God with giving and with song. Take a moment to turn around and touch one of the offering plates by the door. Thank you for your faithfulness in helping to reach Second Life and the world with the Good News of the freedom that comes only in knowing Jesus.
Let's continue our worship with song. Click the pulpit for a notecard, and let's enter his courts with praise!
A REASON TO REJOICE
I have a reason to rejoice
I have a reason to clap my hands
I have a reason to lift my voice
and sing praises to the great I Am
I have a reason to move my feet
and take the Gospel into the street
I have a reason to lose my will
and let Jesus take full control
For you have set me feet to dancin'
You have filled my heart with joy
You have freed me from my passions
and filled me with the Holy Ghost
You have set my heart on fire
Fill my soul with your desire and
Melt me Lord 'til only you remain!
SING A NEW SONG
Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth
Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth
For God is great
and greatly to be praised
God is great
and greatly to be praised
I EXALT THEE
For thou O Lord art high
above all the earth
Thou are exalted
far above all gods
And I exalt thee
I exalt thee
I exalt thee O Lord
*** Message introduction and prayer not included in today's transcript ***
"How Precious Are Your Thoughts"
Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me,"
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Today I'd like for us to talk about this passage just a bit, and draw out just a little of the incredible depth of God's love and intimacy that is being expressed here.
This passage begins with the words, "O Lord, you have searched me and known me." Isn't it amazing to consider that God has searched you, looked into the depths of your soul.
"You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off." When you feel as though no one understands what you're saying, much less what you're thinking, remember that God understands your thoughts even before you do, and much better than you could ever understand yourself.
"You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways." A couple can grow in love, get married, and live their whole lives together, and after many years spending every evening together, sharing the same bed, and seeing how the other one acts, reacts, and goes about life, the couple may know each other well. And yet God is acquainted with ALL your ways. He not only knows how loudly you snore, he knows exactly how all your muscles move when you breath. If there is a brief moment that your heart has a slightly irregular beat, he knows it completely. If something you eat slightly disagrees with you, he knows it completely even if you're unaware. He knows the most subtle of your ways, and he knows you completely and more intimately than you know yourself.
"For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether." Have you ever said, "I know the word I'm looking for, it's on the tip of my tongue, I just can't think of what it is..." God knows it. And before you speak a single word, he knows what you're going to say. Not only does he know it, he knows it "altogether," or "thoroughly and completely." Even if you may sometimes surprise yourself, you can't surprise God. He knows you too well.
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it." If you think you know how well God knows you and how much God knows about you, then you are mistaken. His thoughts are above our thoughts and his ways are above our ways. Just to imagine that God knows how many hairs are on our head, just to consider that he sees every organ as it functions, just to ponder that he sees every blood cell as it goes about its business, that he sees every nuetron as it spins around every atom in your body, just to imagine how he can be constantly aware of all of this, and also see and understand your thoughts, the desires of your heart, and everything you think, see, hear, and feel; this is mind-boggling. But it's true.
"Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." We know that God is with us when we are on the mountain top, so to speak, but what about when we're in the valley? What about the times when we feel as though God has forgotten about us or forsaken us? What about the times that we have wandered astray and perhaps fallen into dark sin? "If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there."
"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." You can't get up earlier than God. You won't find any deserted island where he is not, and even if you go to the deepest parts of the ocean, he is there too.
"If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall fall on me,' even the night shall be light about me. Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from you, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to you." It doesn't matter how dark the night is through which you're going. It doesn't matter how desperate and seemingly hopeless the situation is in which you feel trapped and alone. He is not with you any less, he does not see you any less clearly, he has not lost touch with every breath you take, with every beat of your heart, and with every pain you feel.
And then we see the history of God's love for us and his intimate knowledge of us.
"For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother's womb. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them."
Even in the first moments of your conception, even before you began to take shape, God saw you, unformed; it was he who covered you in your mother's womb; and at that point, as he formed you skillfully and lovingly in the womb, his book was filled with all the days of your life. All the days fashioned for you -- prepared and shaped especially for you, even before the first day of your existence in the womb had begun.
Don't buy the lie of the world that you were EVER just a piece of tissue. The maker of heaven and earth and the one who formed you says otherwise. "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well." You weren't an accident. You were never an unhuman blob. Rather, you were fearfully and wonderfully made. You are a work of God, and God's works are marvelous. YOU are marvelous, and all the days of your life which were lovingly and knowingly fashioned for you by God were written in his book from the very beginning. EVERY day was written, and THIS day was fashioned for you and written in God's book from the very beginning. God has great plans for you. And his next great plan for you takes place TODAY.
We should start each day with expectancy and wonder, for this day was fashioned by God from the very beginning. It might not be a day filled with thrills, but it is not an ordinary day -- rather, it is a gift, a wonder, designed just for us by God.
"How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awake, I am still with you."
This gives me a picture of the end of a long day. Reflecting back on the day, you realize, by heavenly revelation, that God's thoughts toward you all day have been precious, and they are precious to you. And as you ponder what these precious thoughts of God might have been, you just might realize, as his Spirit softly sings a bedtime lulliby to you, that his thoughts toward you today were more numerous than the sands of the sea, and every single one of God's innumerable thoughts about you today were good, to give you a future and a hope. And as you rest in his arms, you know that when you awake, he will still be with you.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me. And lead me in the way everlasting."
The ministry team can come stand at the front now.
We begin with "O Lord, you have searched me and known me," and we end with "Search me, O God, and know my heart." When we realize that God has already searched us, that he knows everything about us and he knows us intimately, that no matter where we are or where we go, he is there and he sees us; when we realize that he lovingly formed us in our mother's womb, and that at the moment we were conceived, every day of our lives had been specially fashioned for us by God, a new gift package handed to us every single day; and when we realize that he thinks about us constantly, and all his thoughts are thoughts of love and of good for us, as a father loves a son or daughter in whom he delights; when the Holy Spirit brings these truths to life in us, we will cry out to him, "Yes Lord, search me and know me!" Sensing his holiness and desiring to please him, we will cry out to him, "Reveal to me any wicked way in me, and lead me in your everlasting ways."
Let's gather here at the altar and just have a time of seeking after God as we spend time in his presence.
God knows you completely, and he loves you. If you don't know him, or if you've strayed away from him, he has fashioned today as your day to come to him, return to him, to find the peace and meaning you desperately long for.
If you need to come to Jesus or return to him, pray this prayer with me.
Say, "Jesus, You have searched me and you know me; I want to search after you and know you too. Forgive me for my sins, and come into my heart. I accept your sacrifice for me on the cross, and I accept you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for your precious thoughts toward me, every moment of my life. Thank you Jesus. Amen."
If you need prayer or ministry, instant message someone on the ministry team. You're free to go, or make your way to the room on your left if you wish to converse, and we'll all gather there in awhile for fellowship. Otherwise, come to the front, and let's gather together at the altar and seek after God.
Lord, search us, and know our hearts. Try us, and know our anxieties. And see if there is any wicked way in us, and lead us in your way everlasting. Amen.