North Anderson Baptist Church
A Season of Thanksgiving, Part 1 - Great is God's Faithfulness
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Chuck Swindoll reports that a seminary student in Chicago faced a test of forgiveness. Although he preferred to work in some kind of ministry, the only job he could find was driving a bus on Chicago’s south side. One day a gang of tough teens got on board and refused to pay the fare. After a few days of this, the seminarian spotted a policeman on the corner, stopped the bus, and reported them. The officer made them pay, but then he got off. When the bus rounded a corner, the gang robbed the seminarian and beat him severely. He pressed charges and the gang was rounded up. They were found guilty. But as soon as the jail sentence was given, the young Christian saw their spiritual need and felt pity for them. So he asked the judge if he could serve their sentences for them. The gang members and the judge were dumbfounded. “It’s because I forgive you,” he explained. His request was denied, but he visited the young men in jail and led several of them to faith in Christ. Source unknown
Forgiveness, compassion and mercy are traits that all Christians should display in their lives because they are the very characteristics of God Himself. In our passage today found in Lamentations 3:19-21, God shows compassion and mercy to the prophet Jeremiah who is the very representative of the Jewish nation who is being judged by God for their rebellion and failure against Him. Because our Father is a God of hope, He gives us hope in times of troubles and situations that come our way because of our disobedience to Him.

These young gang members, saw hope coming from someone who had every right to be vindictive because of how they treated him but instead the Christian showed compassion toward them.
A. The Lamentations of Jeremiah - vv.19-20

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.

Jeremiah writes this lamentation with tears while he has seen the nation of Judah and the city of Jerusalem crumble about him. He had prophesied that this would happen, he told them that it was coming, and now he is discouraged and depressed that it had finally come. Why had the trouble come to Judah and Jerusalem? Their sin and rebellion against God over a long period of time had finally brought on them the judgment of God, which was promised to them many times.

When I think about the sin of Israel against God, I can see that they never thought God would do what He said. They were the chosen people of God and therefore God would never allow them to be completely defeated. Sure, there would be defeats in battle, once in a while, and they would be oppressed for their bad decisions, like what is seen in the time of Judges. But now, after they had possessed the Promised Land, God had given them kings and they had lived in the land for such a long time, surely God would not judge them too fiercely. But Jeremiah sees the judgment that He promised them, if they continued to rebel, and judgment was at hand.
In a book entitled “Down to Earth”, John Lawrence tells the story of a city that dared God to show Himself and paid a terrible price. It seems that the city of Messina, Sicily, was home to many wicked, irreligious people. On December 25, 1908, a newspaper published in Messina printed a parody against God, daring Him to make Himself known by sending an earthquake. Three days later, on December 28, the city and its surrounding district was devastated by a terrible quake that killed 84,000 people. (Today in the Word, October, 1997, p. 25)

God always has the last word! There are consequences for rebellion and boasting.

There was an agnostic farmer who wrote to the editor of his local newspaper, who was a Christian. He said; “In defiance of your God, I plowed my fields this year on Sunday, I disked and fertilized them on Sunday, I planted them on a Sunday, I cultivated them on Sunday, and I reaped them on Sunday. This October, I had the biggest crop I have ever had. How do you explain that?" The editor replied: “God does not always settle his accounts in October.” (Lou Nicholes, Word of Life Fellowship, Schroon Lake, NY).
B. This One Thought - vv.21-23

21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Can you imagine what was going through the mind and heart of Jeremiah as he sat in that pit during those days of the tribulation of Jerusalem? What despair and sorrow regarding the people he tried to save through warning them about the coming of the judgment of God.
But then - there was just one thought -. “One thought (this I call to mind) crowded out the hopelessness that threatened to overwhelm him: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.”

How can just one thought change everything? When you think of God and what He can do, that is enough! His love and compassion trump all other things that come into your mind and heart. Jeremiah was on the downcast side of life and all it took was a thought of God’s mercy, His love, His forgiveness and His compassion then HOPE comes into his heart with great abandonment to overwhelm all else he was thinking. God’s great love is described as His “loyal love.” God’s love never fails, He is faithful to His covenant people. How bright is this thought! If it were not for God’s great love (loyal love) and mercy, the people of Israel would be utterly consumed with judgment. In the midst of the great judgment, Jeremiah thinks of God’s love and mercy and therefore hope arises and God’s compassions are seen as new each morning by those who have held on with hope. Hear Jeremiah speak in verses 55-57,
God is a faithful God!

Corrie ten Boom was a Christian from Haarlem in Amsterdam who was imprisoned by the Nazis in a death camp called Ravensbruck. Her family were Christians and had been hiding Jews and seeking to get them to safety, but was found out and arrested. While in Ravensbruck, she learned that her father had died only after ten days in prison. She and her sister Betsie were housed with other women where they held Bible studies, It was during those days, while they were treated horribly and women died and others were put into the gas chambers, that Corrie told the women, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

If you have hope in the great God of Hope then you can make it through whatever comes your way, it might be all kinds of troubles. Last week, in worship we saw that several women declared that they had come through the dreadful disease called breast cancer. You may have been hit with something else so dreaded and felt that you can not make it out or overcome whatever it might be, BUT GOD!, He can do all things and if we put our hope in Him, He will see you in that deep pit and can rescue you, trust in Him and have faith! His compassions are new every morning! It may take just one moment of thought and you will remember that God is truly God!

Jeremiah could understand this quote:
“It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed—Being thus humbled, and seeing himself and his sinfulness in a proper point of view, he finds that God, instead of dealing with him in judgment, has dealt with him in mercy; and that though the affliction was excessive, yet it sees less than his iniquity deserved. If, indeed, any sinner be kept out of hell, it is because God's compassion faileth not.”
C. Hoping in Him Brings God’s Goodness - vv. 24-26

24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Because our Father is a God of hope, He gives us hope in times of troubles and situations that come our way because of our disobedience to Him.

A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing-we’re behind.” “Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!” (Source Unknown).

To have hope like that would be great! It would be wonderful to go through life with that kind of expectation and have it built upon the foundation of God’s Word and His faithful promises.

Waiting patiently for what God will do is a special blessing. So many of us are not willing to wait on the Lord for His mercy and compassion to come our way. “My portion,” the Lord is my portion. Whatever God chooses to do in my life through whatever trial and trouble that may come my way, it will be acceptable for me because it comes from God’s hand of mercy. So many of us will pray this prayer in our time of difficulty, “Lord we want your will to be done in our life and circumstances.” Some people don’t like to pray that prayer because they think it is a cop out; they want to tell God exactly what He should do for them or their loved one, in their situation. As Jeremiah might have said, “I know the Lord is my portion and I will wait on Him to do what He desires to be done for and to me.” Jeremiah knew God was a good God and that in His mercy and compassion that God would do what was good for those who loved Him. Remember that Paul says in Romans 8:28,
Not everything that will come my way is good, but all that comes my way, God will make it for my good because I am called by His name and I love Him, and God is a Good, Good Father!
Waiting for what God wants to do can be difficult, it just demands patience and trust. Great is God’s Faithfulness, trust that for yourself. “To build life on that which is always changing is to invite constant unrest and disappointment, but to build on the changeless and eternal is to have peace and confidence.”

Remember, Because our Father is a God of hope, He gives us hope in times of troubles and situations that come our way because of our disobedience to Him.
We are not just talking about Jerusalem and Jeremiah. We are talking about you and me when troubles come and things seemed to be so difficult, why can’t we think back to who our God is and remember that he is merciful, loving and faithful and then wait in HOPE for Him to show that compassion He has for us.

His love is so loyal for His children and He never forgets the needs we have. “The Lord Is my Shepherd, I shall not want” He loves you and me so much that He was willing to send Jesus, His precious Son, down to this earth for us, coming out of the most wonderful and indescribable place, and to be born of a virgin girl, to live a humble life as a human and then be willing to turn His face toward Jerusalem, knowing full well that the Jewish leaders would lie about Him and then turn Him over to the Romans and He would be beaten and then crucified and die. He knew that He would be buried and then on the third day rise from the dead, soon to go back to heaven where He once lived with His Father in all His splendor and glory.
That is why we can have hope in the Lord during our times of trouble. Jesus is willing to come into your life too. He has the desire that none perish, but all come to repentance.

1. Would you come to Jesus today and repent of your sins and turn your heart and life over to Him? I will be at the front and that is the time to make your way forward to talk with me and declare your desire to be saved and become a child of God.

2. For those of you who might want to be a part of this fellowship, we are willing to talk with you about what it takes to become a member of NABC, if you come we can talk as well about that.

3. And today, we have been talking about the troubles and trials of life and how God is so good that He wants to touch our lives with His mercy, love and compassion. Maybe today you are going through something that is overwhelming and you need prayer and want to have someone to pray with you. You come and there are so many who will pray with you about your need.

4. Maybe you know of someone who needs this compassion and mercy of God today. Won’t you come to the altar and pray for them? Through your prayers God might bring to their mind that one thought of who God is and what He can do for them.

Invitation

Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is www.northandersonbaptist.com and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby

http://www.northandersonbaptist.com