His Grandeur

Psalms 8:1-3 NASB  For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!  (2)  From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.  (3)  When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

 

Many of you may not know but I am away at Liberty University this week for school and it has been busy. We start out each morning with a worship song or two and prayer. This morning we did two songs. The first was We Believe by NewSong. We then sang the song How Great Thou Art with Chris Rice. It really moved my heart today and I wanted to share it with you. I suggest that you go to YouTube and put in How Great Thou Art with Chris Rice, sit back, and worship.

 

How Great Thou Art

Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And then proclaim, “My God, how great Thou art”

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

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Unity

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB  (9)  Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  (10)  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  (11)  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?  (12)  And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

 

Have you ever had a job to do that really needed two or more people to accomplish it; however, you went at it alone? A job is much easier to get accomplished if we look towards our neighbor for help or be available for our neighbor. Paul speaks of this in 1Corinthians 12 when he is addressing the body of Christ. He states that not everyone can be the eyes, ear, feet, or the hands but we all have our distinct role so that the body can function properly. Have you ever injured yourself? You may not comprehend how much a small body part such as the big toe, wrist, or even your little pinkie plays a huge role in your everyday life until it is hurt or damaged. Then the reality of it importance comes into play. If we want to go about life as a lone ranger then we will get very little accomplished for the kingdom of God. However, when we bind ourselves together with other believers then great things can be accomplished. Jesus taught this principle for the church in Matthew 18:20 NASB  “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Are you a lone ranger or do you bind together with others, which makes us stronger. I challenge you to locate a few brothers or sisters in the Lord and bind together in prayer, support, and encouragement. Two are better than one and a three corded rope is not quickly broken.

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

Renovation

2 Corinthians 5:13-17 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,

 

I think that everyone loves a good renovation story. My wife and I love to watch a show where they take old, worn out houses and make them into beautiful living spaces once again. I personally witnessed a renovation story in a friend of mine, Herman Boone. Herman was a large fella; however, he began eating better and walking at the park. He would walk and then jog the best that he could until he was able to fully jog. I saw Herman about 2 years after he started the process and I did not even recognize him as he had slimmed down. He told me that he looks at his old pictures but he doesn’t even identify with his old self. He was a picture of renovation. Paul is explaining a new life that is found in Christ. I particularly love the wording of verse 14 and 17 of “controls” and “new creature”. Paul states that there has been such a change in one’s life that the old, worn out life has been renovated and made into such a new structure that the old is or should not even be recognizable. Because of this new life in Christ we are no longer our own but Christ “controls” us. Shouldn’t this explain our walk with Jesus? I wonder if my life has been renovated and made new to such an extent that people do not even recognize the new me from the old me. I wonder if since I know that Jesus died for me for my salvation; therefore, my every move is controlled by the love of Christ. Have you been renovated? Has the old been gutted out and all things are made new? Does Jesus own and control you? If these things are true then it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work because there are other renovation stories that need to be introduced to Jesus, who has given us the ministry of reconciliation (v18).

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

Hope in the midst of despair

Psalms 42:1-11 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. 5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. 6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me. 8 The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.9 I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” 10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

 

In the superhero movies there is always drama. In the Superman movies someone would be in trouble and it seemed as if all would be lost because they were about to plunge to their death. However, as the cable would snap or something would fall the music would be building in the background as Superman would swoop in to save the day. The psalmist is in a conundrum because he is experiencing the Lord through worship; however, his enemies are oppressing him to the point that he is ridiculed and possibly being destroyed. What is the psalmist to do? How shall he react to the troubles of this world? I want you to notice something rather powerful that we need to apply to our daily lives as well as I see a pattern. The psalmist begins by stating that his soul’s desire is for the Lord while they ridiculed him; however, he encouraged himself in the Lord to “Hope in God!” The psalmist once again is going through a difficult time; however, he encouraged himself in the Lord and stated to “Hope in God!” It matters not what you are going through as I am sure it is rocking your world. However, “Hope in God!” as you praise Him because He will see you through every difficulty. Hasn’t the Lord promised us that “He will never leave us nor forsake us?!” Hope in God! Just as the Lord stated to Abraham about having a son in his old age…Is anything too hard for the Lord? Just lift your hands in worship and victory knowing that God has you right where He wants you and He will bring about the victory in Jesus name! Tell your soul, “Hope in God!”

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

Observant

Proverbs 22:1-6 NASB  A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.  (2)  The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.  (3)  The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.  (4)  The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches, honor and life.  (5)  Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.  (6)  Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Don’t you hate it when you walk by something and it picks your clothing? It could be a favorite shirt or coat; however, now the snag sticks out like a sore thumb. Solomon is instructing us that we need to be careful where and how we walk. Most accidents would probably not happen if we were a little more cautious and aware of our surroundings. We probably wouldn’t have backed up into the other car if we weren’t looking at our phone or changing the radio. We probably wouldn’t have stepped on the Lego while barefoot if we had of been observant of where we were going or at least smart enough to turn on a light. Solomon states that if we want to have a good name then we are going to have to protect it and nurture it more than anything here on earth. He also states that the person that guards themselves does not fall into the thorns and snares because they are aware of the path that they are walking or they guard their steps. If there is a desired path that we aspire to walk then we must be trained in how and where to walk. If a person is trained how and where to walk then they will be vigilant to follow the right path. Do you find yourself going from pothole to pothole? Does it seem as if thorns of temptation are snagging your life and causing great difficulty and destruction? I would dare say that the Word of God needs to teach and train in such a manner that we are aware of the potholes, thorns, and snares as we walk about in life. God’s Word inevitably teaches one how and where to walk so that we follow the steps of Christ Jesus and thus avoid the pit falls of life. Watch your step!

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

Something stinks

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NASB  (14)  But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  (15)  For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;  (16)  to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?  (17)  For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

 

A number of years ago we were about to turn into the driveway at home as we were returning from a vacation. A smell began to disperse in the car, which promoted my wife to exclaim, “Alright, who did it!” Everyone in the car began to deny the obvious act. My son then exclaim well mom we do live in Roanoke Rapids. If you have the pleasure of living in a town where there is a paper mill then you will understand the previous story. A distinct aroma emits from a paper mill that when the breeze is just right it will spread its pungent odor all over town and some days are worse than others. Paul is stating that our lives ought to emit a certain aroma as well since we are in Christ. This aroma points to two victories. First, the victory of Christ Jesus over death, hell, and the grave. Second, the victory of Christ through our life. We must understand our victory in Christ as His power flows through our lives. However, this aroma is a positive and a negative as well. Our aroma points to the death of those who are outside of Christ and gives them a living illustration that they are separated from God. However, it is also an encouragement to those who are in Christ Jesus because they can witness the power of God through the heart of their fellow believer. How does your life smell? Do those closest to you smell the sweet aroma of Christ and His victory? If my life does not illustrate the victory in Christ, which is in distinct contrast to the death within the world and its lifestyle then I may need to locate the cause of the stink (or sin). Dear Lord, may my life be a sweet smelling aroma as I walk in the understanding of Christ Jesus. Please use my life to share Your sweet aroma as a living testimony of You.

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs

Understanding your opposition

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 KJV  (10)  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; (11)  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

I was working one day when I noticed a certain individual lurking in the distance. I was writing some inventory items down on my sheet so I turned away from the individual and acted as if I was still writing. Sure enough after about 30 seconds, this individual grabbed me and attempted to scare me. I turned around and exclaimed, “Ha, I knew you were coming!” This individual dropped his head and walked away totally dejected. In order to be victorious we must know and understand our adversary. We must not be ignorant or oblivious to his tactics. Paul is giving us a very powerful lesson today. Paul states that we must be willing to forgive, which means that love is the foundational unit that makes up our life. Why is love and forgiveness so important? If we do not have love and forgiveness within our every action, attitude, and behavior then Satan will pounce upon you like a roaring lion and devour you. Hatred, envy, anger, jealousy and the such are like cancers that will destroy our lives. It is Satan’s playground and he will destroy everything that touches that life. I think that we need to understand the words that Jesus told Peter in Luke 22:31 NASB  “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.” We must not think that we are above falling. We must not think that we are stronger than we really are. We must submit our lives unto Jesus and His love will flood our hearts so that we can walk in victory. Where are you the weakest spiritually? Where are you the strongest? It really has nothing to do with you or me but with Jesus working in our life. Paul stated that when he was weak then he was strong because he was totally depending upon Jesus for his spiritual strength. Please do not be ignorant of the devices of your enemy. Be on your guard watching everything that attempts to draw you away from Jesus. Now, walk in the victory that the power of the Holy Spirit brings into your life.

 

His servant,

Marcus Riggs