"God, our only true refuge"

there's a hymn that the Lord brought to

my mind there this morning as I was

working on the sermon and I don't even

know what that well but I just came to

my mind and we have heard it many times

and the the chorus says turn your eyes

upon Jesus look full in his wonderful

face and the things of Earth will grow

strangely dim in the light of his glory

and grace why why did that him come to

my mind I wanted to suspend as I've done

in the in the past few weeks our series

on the Holy Spirit and life in this

period to consider things of you know

pertinence to this moment that we're

living in things that are current and

and real to our hearts and our minds

have been just a beset by so many cares

it's this past weeks and months all the

stuff that is happening all over the

world and just lately I'll ask you this

what was the first thing that you

thought of this morning when you when

you woke up probably for me it was

hurricane Irma I have family in Miami

and all over Florida we have we have

brothers and sisters who have moved

there and maybe they'll see the light

and come back to Boston and repent of

having abandoned us here but they have

gone they have gone to Florida for

warmer weather and our minds are with

them I think of a beautiful family that

is right now in Naples where this

hurricane is heading and of course

relatives in Miami and we're thinking of

the people in Houston and I thank the

Lord for all of you who gave for the

Houston victims and we have sent that

money to a church in Houston that is

very much involved in red

you efforts it's a light it's a Latino

congregation they are in Houston and

they're really helping out two people

whose homes have been destroyed and

churches that have been torn down and so

on and so forth so you know I thank the

Lord for that and you know the fact that

we're we're mindful of all of these

individuals who are now in the throes of

a natural disaster and of course we

can't help but be affected by that

concern these past few days we've just

been battered by the news about another

disaster another catastrophe a raging

fire somewhere in California or some

part of the Midwest or whatever or

hurricanes you know that one comes

record-setting strength and then there's

another one that seems to be just

waiting in line to take over and never

mind all the other tremors of our nation

and all the divisions and so on and so

forth the world somebody said I read

that something in the internet about it

from a secular person that says you know

if you're thinking about apocalypse well

we're certainly doing a great rehearsal

of it and this is not a religious person

saying that if it were then we'll be

accused of maybe you know just being

pharisaic or accusative you know of

people who don't believe necessarily but

it is true I mean you know the whole

world seems to be on fire one way or

another so my mind was sort of directed

to the urgency that we look at the

alternative for a moment that we my hope

is this morning to instill confidence in

you and I think the Lord may have also

inspired our sister Felicia in choosing

some of those courses because I could

have taken any of those courses and made

them the theme of this sermon really

they each of these courses affirms you

know this idea of this great card that

we have this God who is faithful

merciful breaking chains and doing his

thing in history and our eyes were

certainly directed to Jesus in one way

or another to his control of human

history and of all circumstances and

that is wonderful

so psalm 46

spoke to my heart this morning because

it's a beautiful sound that shows us how

to retain count in the midst of the

storms of life and I think we should

take some time to do that to take a

spiritual aspirin if you will and to

breathe in the atmosphere of faith and

hope and confidence in the Lord

what a beautiful affirmation on the part

of a sound 46 it says God is our refuge

and strength can you say hallelujah amen

to that God is our refuge and strength

an ever-present help in trouble

therefore we will not fear though the

earth give way and the mountains fall

into the heart of the sea though its

waters roar and the foam and the

mountains quake with their surging man

what beautiful poetry the Bible is full

of poetry I've read a lot of books of

literature but I've never found more

beautiful image imagery then you find

sometimes in the sounds or in other

parts of scripture though its waters

roar and foam in the mountains quake

with their surging beautiful words each

one of them very precise and and evoke

evocative of images says there is a

river whose streams make glad the City

of God the holy place were the most high

dwells God is within her she will not

fall God will help her at break of day

nations are in uproar kingdoms fall he

lifts his voice the earth melts the Lord

Almighty is with us the God of Jacob is

our fortress come and see the works of

the Lord

the desolations he has brought on the

earth he makes Wars cease to the ends of

the earth

he breaks the ball and shatters the

spear he burns the shield with fire be

still and know that I am God I will be

exalted among the nation's I will be

exalted in the earth the Lord Almighty

is with us the God of Jacob is our

fortress amen we don't even have to have

a sermon this is enough already to

instill in us a sense of peace and quiet

and confidence because this is a sound

of utter confidence in God's power and

faithfulness for those who serve Him

those that love him and those that he

loves and that he is committed to I

cannot think of a sound that embodies

more that sense of peace that comes from

focusing on that great powerful God that

we have as I've said before we live in a

time of so much turmoil of wars and

rumors of wars of terrorism and huge

migrations of people uncertainty in

government divided nations huge national

divisions whole you know mammoth

organizations like the European Union

crumbling and and quaking and

threatening to divide and dissolve now

we have these huge natural disasters are

all around us and threats of even more

things I'm getting the press just

mentioning some of these things already

so it's good to go back to the Word of

God it's good to dwell on on an

alternative to this anxiety-inducing

world that we live in and to find words

that instill confidence in us that that

provided also with the right perspective

that invite us to take our eyes from the

storm and to put it on the Jesus who

says come and walk over the waters amen

I think of that image what comes to my

mind as I say that is Peter you know the

Lord there's this huge storm Jesus is

walking on top of the waters as an

as an expression in a graphic image of

his sovereignty over all the forces of

nature and the Peter says you know as he

can do sometimes in the scripture Lord

if it's you let me let me walk on the

waters myself and just as well come and

he gets out and for a while based on

faith he can he can do what Jesus is

doing he can walk on the waters just

like we could walk on all the

circumstances the negative circumstances

and each one of us by the way our own

natural disasters in our own life our

own struggles our own marital problems

and health situations and financial

concerns and and structural I would I

would call it that situations that we've

been facing and struggling against for

years things in our mind

struggles that are kind of really rooted

in in our psyche and we've been we've

been struggling Lord free me and you

know the Lord says yes come what you can

do it just as I am seated on and my feet

are on a sea of glass you can also

experience the same kind of stability

and for a while our faith is strong

enough and we can do it but then what

happens

biology takes over neurology takes over

peter starts looking around and and

here's the the the roar of the ocean or

the or the lake and you know he he sees

the water falling like crazy and the

waves and so on in his psychology says

hey what am i doing i'm walking on water

i it's not supposed to happen and he

starts looking at the circumstances he

starts looking at all the things that

say no to his faithful and faith field

victory over nature and he starts

sinking he takes his eyes off the ball

and jesus is saying you know keep your

eyes keep your eyes on me keep your eyes

focused on on Who I am so it's called

it's good in the middle of all this

stuff to take our eyes of the news for a

while

amen take your eyes of the internet I

think much of our anxiety is created by

this artificial world that we inhabit

were you know even as I'm here I got my

cell phone on and I'm watching a the

Associated Press is sending me a little

message about the latest disaster and

what's going on

you know it's it's we are attacked by

this wonderful gadget that is a source

of great convenience but also the same

time of great anxiety and of great

uncertainty as well and the Lord is

saying hey take your eyes of all of that

and put it on on this mammoth God that

you have so it's good good to go back to

the word of the Lord that's what I'm

trying to do this morning and to find

words that instill confidence in us and

that provide the right perspective for

us and this Psalm does that for me it

begins with a powerful declaration it

directs the rights of the most

significant element of all and the

psalmist says God is our refuge and

strength an ever-present help in trouble

you know that's more than just a neutral

declaration he's just not saying that

he's really spitting it out he's

throwing a rock at the Giant he's doing

this in a combative conflictive kind of

way he's saying to his mind and to his

Sensibility

hey mind hey psyche it's not human

elements that root and found your peace

and your confidence it is God he is

there there's an is there that is in

boldface it's not just an is that is

neutral God is our refuge and strength

an ever-present help in trouble you

could make of that verse alone a point

of departure for an entire meditation I

think of the word refuge for a moment my

mind stops there because we see people

in the news right now in Florida taking

going to refuges churches are becoming

refuges synagogues have become refuges

gymnasiums and auditoriums have become

refugees for the people in Houston and

you know Antigua and Barbuda and and

Bermuda and the Cuba and so on people go

to refuges know

and and unfortunately what happens you

know the people in in Miami went to

Tampa to get refuge and then the storm

changes its course and it's waiting for

them there in Tampa or Naples

you know refuges are relative places of

support and comfort and it's good to

take refuge you know it's good to do

your due diligence and to find refuge in

places good to seek help when you're in

trouble and to go to a psychiatrist if

you need to take medicine if you need to

if you have no other recourse for a

certain crisis in a moment you know but

after doing all that you can do in the

human realm after after we've gone

through the the things that we need to

do in the in in the human way believers

know or ought to know that our only true

refuge is the Lord Amen that his power

and his strength are the only thing that

really constitute a place of confidence

for us everything else is temporary and

and fragile and and this is the double

the double perspective of the believer

you know we live in a dual reality one

is the physical reality that we inhabit

and we need to be aware of it we need to

take measures regarding it we need to

you know live productive lives and do

things in a prudent sort of way but

really the only thing in the end we know

that the only true reality and hope that

we have is in the realm of the Spirit

the Word of God the person of God his

faithfulness his power to help us in

times of need and this is where we get

our true perspective our feet are on the

world yes but our mind our emotions our

hope our spirit our meditation is on

this God who can fill us with hope and

with confidence the only permanent thing

the psalmist says in the psalm in the

world is

God in his word the truths that the Word

of God reveals God is the only permanent

refuge that cannot be violated and and

one thing that I get out of this Psalm

is this idea that we must dwell so

continually on the image of the person

of God we must become so saturated with

the promises of Scripture and with the

realities that scripture points out to

us that we become just completely you

know inoculated against the the the

concerns out there the the the natural

anxieties that come from looking at the

world and where it's going

the psalmist invites us time and time

again in this text to put our thoughts

to put our minds on this ever-present

God this powerful God and I think that's

what we need to do that is the only

antidote that I find against anxiety

when my mind is dragging me to look at

the latest catastrophe the the latest

danger the latest terroristic attack the

Lord is saying hey take your mind tether

it and bring it back to really who you

are you're this spiritual being

you dwell a an eternal reality even as

you walk this time this realm of time

and space you're not a creature of time

and space you are a spirit encased in a

biology and and I hear the words of

Jesus do not fear those that can destroy

your body but cannot touch your soul

rather fear those who can destroy your

body and send your soul to hell in other

words our concerns should not be so much

on the physical things whether for good

or for evil you know a hurricane or a

tsunami could heat hit Boston or a

catastrophic snowfall or whatever and

you know unfortunately we are sometimes

you know though those catastrophes may

touch believers and and may affect them

very negatively and I really believe

that the last card that we play the last

hope that we have

it's really this fact that we have

yielded our hopes in our life on to

Jesus our physical life is ultimately in

his hands you know the safety of our

loved ones our security all of that we

should we have we should have

preemptively preventively years ago

signed a blank card and said father it's

all yours

I'm gonna enjoy it as long as I can but

if something takes it away I'm gonna

find my peace again and and we should do

that preventively

you know every time you you achieve some

sort of a triumph you know you I think a

family's here just last week who signed

on a house their dream for many many

years we went to visit a family of the

church and you know so happy to have

their house the first day that they had

closed we went to dedicated and blessed

the house along with a bunch of friends

from the church and and yet you know I

mean when we when we have those things

we yes we thank the Lord for them but we

should never set our affections on them

I think was Corrie ten Boom who said

that you should hold things very lightly

so that the Lord takes it away from you

it won't hurt if he grabs it from you

you know whatever it is that you have

there's another verse that comes to my

mind where I think it's in Revelation

this is that you know they have overcome

something along the lines because they

have despised their lives on to death

you know we should be so rejecting of

too much affection on anything of this

world that it becomes like the spicing

it that's what it means really it's not

that you hate the good things that you

have you thanked the Lord for them you

enjoy them as much as you can but know

that it's all temporary it's not yours

doesn't belong to you God has given it

to you to manage and enjoy and

administer but be ready to give it up if

you need to think of those families in

Houston you know who had this lovely

homes and then they were just totally

flooded everything that they had

photographs of loved ones and

the musical instruments and artworks

that could not be replaced and all the

other stuff and now they're reduced to

like starting all over again what would

we do if our security were taken away

from us what would we do if all the

things that we love and hold dear world

over something eliminated could we bless

the Lord could we thank the Lord could

we say well yes I am hurt I'm sad I'm

I'm uncertain I'm but at the same time

the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away

and then we could find our joy again and

find hope and say wow I get to reinvent

my life all over again praise the Lord I

get to recreate things again and now

since I know Jesus more than I did 20

years ago when I started I can probably

do it faster and it better you know and

that's what that's the kind of thing

that we need to do in our life you know

the I believe that the the time for

wimpy Christianity has been over a long

time ago Sunday Christianity partial

Christianity

I mean Christianity has to become the

central force in our life whether the

coloring element of our mind and our

affections everything should be

permeated with this idea that I belong

to a kingdom that is eternal all the

other things that I have they're just

illusory in the light of this great

kingdom that I am going toward and that

I am inhabiting even now the kingdom of

God and all the things that we have are

just very temporary and and the only

permanent thing is this God this

powerful God that we have and so we must

dwell continually on the Word of God so

that we become saturated with this idea

of God being our ultimate refuge and our

source of provision and protection this

is what I see the psalm is doing over

and over again so he begins God is a

refuge and our strength and I love the

ways as an ever-present help in time

of trouble there's another translation

that says a very present help I love

that - a very present help evidently he

wasn't contented just kind of a generic

affirmation he you know help in trouble

no he's an ever-present help a very

present help the idea is that God is

always faithful immediate there for the

need that you have at a certain moment

and not only an immediate help but also

a an effective help he is overwhelmingly

over abundantly just uh redundant lead

has the word redundantly helpful God is

enough for every need in our life he's

faithful he's available always in a

powerful meaningful way he does not

change he's not affected by

circumstances he is as close as our next

prayer and ever-present source of help

in times of trouble there on the present

at the next turn of the mind from care

to confidence as soon as we turn our

eyes toward him he's there

the psalmist s another passage I

remember it in Spanish you know where

will I turn to if I go there there you

are if I try to seek to hide myself in

the darkness you light it up like the

noontime Sun if I go to hell your spirit

is even there somehow you know he this

is the idea God is an ever-present

source of health no matter where you are

you may be in a dungeon

God is there you may be in the inner

places of your psyche trying to fight

off the latest attack of anxiety or

depression God is there turn your eyes

to him just affirm him declare by faith

even if you don't feel it that God is

with you and for you make that

affirmation a ball of fire that you

throw against the giant of despair and

fear I know that when I go through times

of uncertainty and anxiety in my life

you know I have two choices I can either

just wallow in anxiety or start doing

spiritual warfare by declaring God's

goodness finding access to the first

chorus of affirmation that comes to my

mind and just declaring it and repeating

it

finding a verse of scripture that

declares God's goodness and and and

faithfulness and pronouncing it just to

color my mind to reprogram it to

redirect it to what's really necessary

I find that better than any kind of a

calming pill or visit to the

psychiatrist and it saves me money

you know God God has given us so many

resources yes anxiety can come cares can

come fear can come we all we all

experience it but go to the alternative

and turn your eyes and hear those levers

and those mechanisms creaking as you

turn the mechanism and you've turned it

toward the Lord and His faithfulness you

know he says something that is

interesting he says therefore we will

not fear though the earth give way and

the mountains fall into the heart of the

sea again what a beautiful image can you

imagine a mountain lifting itself up and

throwing itself on the sea even if that

happens why because mountains are

symbols of a stability strength and in

movability he says even if that happens

that amount of somehow tumbles into the

sea

I will not shake I'll stand firm but you

know what what hits me there is he says

therefore we will not fear well I mean

does it really mean that therefore we

will not fear I mean we all fear the

psalmist's definitely fear as a matter

of fact one of the great things about

Psalms that they they're from people who

feared and to somehow find found their

comfort and their hope in God and that's

what makes them so dear to many of us we

all fear so why is he saying therefore

we do not fear well I think the point of

the of the psalmist is he's more more

than a declaration

he's really engaging in an exhortation I

think he's saying therefore let us not

fear but he's turning it into a prophecy

into an affirmation that's the kind of

language that we need to learn you know

many times we need to find those words

of complete certainty even if we don't

feel it because as we say it we format

our brain accordingly psychologists will

tell you that many times according to

what you visualize according to what you

say your brain reacts to it and you you

start believing those things that you

are saying and it's just as easy to

confess faith that's it is to confess

fear so the psalmist is saying therefore

brothers and sisters do not fear do not

let fear I mean dwell in your mind more

than just a few minutes at the most

and then immediately declare war against

fear and anxiety

don't settle for fear as a default mode

in your life many of us I think we have

abandoned the fight and we feel well you

know I'm condemned to a life of anxiety

that's my condition and you know what

can I do I am I repay at a perpetual

state of war against anxiety fear I

engage in so many things that I probably

would be a wonderful client for

psychiatry if I didn't engage in

continual declarations of the goodness

of God and His blessing I refuse to let

fear and anxiety rule over my life and I

find out when I declare God's goodness

and I wage in spiritual warfare blessing

peace come and that nasty dog who is so

faithful of anxiety and fear has to go

for a while he would have come back soon

enough wagging his tail wanted a piece

of your body and you know wanted to kind

of snuggle against you just kick him and

send him running again through a

declaration or chorus a prayer or the

reading of a sound the point of the

psalmist is that as we as we consider

God's faithfulness this ever-present

help in

of trouble his continual availability we

should not give it we will not give in

to fear we will not retain it as our

default posture as we engage in

declarations of God's goodness I I think

I've also saw Isaiah chapter 41 Isaiah

41 verses 9 through 14 it's a beautiful

piece of Scripture that the Lord is a

consoling Israel and he's consoling us

because Israel is just that you know

substitute for us we are Israel

precisely the church and and there the

Lord says I verse 9 41 Isaiah I took you

from the ends of the earth from its

furthest corners I called you I said you

are my servant I have chosen you and

have not rejected you so here goes it

says verse then so do not fear for I am

with you hallelujah how many can sense

the Lord's presence in the midst of

great trouble and if you no sense that

find Eddie he's there he's there I am

with you

I am with you I gotta tell my mind that

all the time even though the clouds come

the Sun is still behind it is there

objectively it is there God is there

even if you don't feel him that's what

you have to confess him and until you

feel him so do not fear for I am with

you do not be dismayed for I am your God

I will strengthen you and help you I

will uphold you with my righteous right

hand praise the Lord

write that in a little piece of paper

and put it with a magnet on your

refrigerator all who rage against you

will surely be ashamed in this grace

those who oppose you will be as nothing

and perish and that sounds a little bit

too aggressive for many of us

evangelicals who who love you know just

the gentleness and the kindness I love

those uh military images also of

Scripture

they're not outdated at all anybody who

opposes you

anybody who has evil designs on your

life they're gonna be ashamed if you

believe it and you confess it just trust

in the Lord

though you search for your enemies you

will not find them we have enemies we

have spiritual enemies we have physical

enemies we have all kinds of enemies and

gods routing of our enemies will be so

far that we will be looking for them we

won't be able to find it there will be

times in your life when you will want to

get back to anxiety because the UVic

practices so many years and you won't be

able to get there you start getting

concerned because you're not concerned

you will search for your enemies and you

will not find them those who wage war

against you will be as nothing at all

for I am the Lord your God who takes

hold of your right hand and says to you

do not fear I will help you praise the

Lord

take that remember memorize those verses

memorize them until they you you ingest

them you you make them a part of your

nervous system

I love the verse 14 do not be afraid o

worm Jacob you know I don't think you'd

be very happy somebody called you a worm

right but that's what we are ultimately

in the light of all the things that all

the dangers that are around or some you

know we're worms you know I have found

that these days great comfort in seeing

myself as a little worm but a worm with

God's eyes set upon it that's the

difference you know it's great to

cultivate frailty for a Christian is

great to cultivate a sense of absolute

brokenness and addiction to God many of

us need to do that in a positive

biblical sort of way you know the

Apostle Paul speaks about reveling in

his weaknesses I these days I love to

revel in my weakness why because I made

strong in my weakness by God's

inhabiting my weakness you know the more

you recognize that you don't have the

power to fight effectively against all

the enemies that are around you the

financial situations the job

uncertainties on and on and on yes do

that revel in frailty so that God can

come

and fill those crevices with his power

you know so I I love that do not be

afraid all worm Jake of all little

Israel for I myself will help you

declares the Lord your Redeemer the Holy

One of Israel you see that little worm

in relationship to that Holy One of

Israel I will help you praise the Lord

Lord I declare this morning I'm a worm

but you are the lord of Lord and the

King of Kings hallelujah and never

present help in times of trouble we are

in your hands father even if the

elements of the earth melt you are

secure in who you are and I am secure in

who you are as well we live in this age

of anxiety the news keeps us in a state

of anxiety as I've said we were made

aware all this information that we have

of the perils that we inhabit

I mean God the the sophistication of the

the weather resources that we have I

mean this I of the hurricane we can

predict what's going to be in half an

hour

they've been predicting this northward

turn of this cyclone months weeks ago

it's gonna do this it's gonna do that at

8 a.m. is gonna be in Cuba and then at

12 a.m. is of a p.m. is gonna be in the

tip of the keys of Florida and

everybody's like ah the shaking because

they know exactly where the the eye of

the hurricane is gonna pass next you

know that's that's the kind of the man's

capacity to diagnose disaster increases

with every passing day I was talking to

somebody about that you know the the the

the medical uncertainty that we inhabit

I mean they can that little aneurysm in

your stomach that will grow by one one

thousandth of a thousandth of a

millimeter they can now see it growing

you know in in real time over the next

10 12 years before I mean it was there

and you didn't realize and you one day

maybe died of it but you these days you

have to worry for the next 20 years of

the

latest one billionth of a millimeter

that has it has grown and they can look

at your chromosomes and determine what

things you're gonna die of in 60 years

and what do you what does that do I mean

I don't want to know what I'm gonna die

of in 20 years from now I don't even

know if I'm gonna live 20 years never

mind it you know but we have all this

capacity now to keep people alive

artificially to know what they're gonna

die off to know what kinds of small

minut enemies are dwelling within them

yeah it's it's it's it's all of that so

and you know it just fills us with

anxiety and the only antidote again that

we have is to turn our eyes upon Jesus

whatever Jesus is in his elements of you

know of help and affirmation and

strength and support again that that him

says all soul are you weary and troubled

no light in the darkness you see there's

light for a look at the Savior and life

more abundant and freee yeah there may

not be enough light for psychologically

positive things but there is always

enough light to take a look at Jesus

he's lit up in the darkness turn your

eyes upon Jesus look full in his

wonderful face and the things of Earth

will grow strangely dim in the light of

his glory and the grace because this

text is all about contrasts it's all

about who and what you're going to look

at are you going to look at the dynamic

nature of danger or you're gonna look at

the powerful stabilizing nature of the

God that you serve you know then the

psalmist goes on to consider all the the

most significant natural disruptions

that could be conceived and he decides

that even if they take place

he will not fear though its waters roar

and form in the mountains quake with

their surging I will not fear you got to

make a pre-emptive decision not to fear

every day every morning when you wake up

make a pre-emptive this is

not to live in fear because if you don't

decide beforehand to adopt that posture

of confidence you will be overcome by

all the enemies that are just around you

again the way to destroy fear is not to

attack it but rather to dwell on its

opposite confidence in the Lord and he

who is the source of strength and peace

this is an insight that I see time and

time again in Scripture somebody has

said do not curse the darkness light a

candle

you know don't fight anxiety because if

you fight anxiety it will become

stronger in you anxiety feeds on attack

what you got to do is the opposite you

got to turn your head in the pillow in

the opposite direction and and think

about the Lord he says further on that

even if the mountains quake with their

surging if the waters roar and the

mountains quake with their surging he

will still be meditating upon the Lord

even if the most absolutely stable

things are shaken he will not give in to

fear even if hurricanes like ARMA and

and coming to the scene though the

waters roar and foam he will still

remain calm and confident in the Lord

and now in the rest of the passage

instead of this roaring ocean this is

like there's a logic here in his imagery

instead of this roaring waters and and

mountains that quake with their surging

he invites us to point he points our

eyes toward a river that is a source of

life and joy I find that a calming image

waters roaring and forming like you

probably see right now in in the

Caribbean or you know wherever hermas

effect are being felt kingdoms falling

all over the world right now or

threatening to fall and yet there is a

river a calming influences imagine a

quiet river in the middle of the forest

you hear

it's calming sound there's a river whose

streams make glad the City of God the

holy place where the most high dwells

this city God is within her she will not

fall God will help her at the break of

day instead of this roaring mass of

destructive water

the psalmist points our I saw a calming

benevolent River that makes cloud the

City of God

rivers are often associated as places of

peace and joy and healing in the Bible

I think of revelation 22 for example

this River that is at the end of time

revelation 22 then the angel showed me

the river of the water of life as clear

as crystal flowing from the throne of

God and of the lamp down the middle of

that great street of the city on each

side of the river stood the tree of life

bearing 12 crops of fruit yielding its

fruit every month and the leaves of the

tree are for the healing of the nation's

no longer will there be any curse the

throne of God and of the Lamb will be in

the city and his servants will serve Him

so this city this city is the City of

God Jerusalem we would suppose but it's

also the city where God's people live

we're here in the city of Boston right

now and you know the fact that we are

here we're almost like a guarantee for

Boston the fact that there are churches

right now worshiping the Lord all over

New England all over this nation who

knows how many disasters have been

averted how many enemies have been

defeated because God loves his people

and where God's people are God is

present and where God is present there

is hope there is life there is healing

there's blessing you know you are a

preserving presence in the city every

time you walk through a street when you

will you live in a neighborhood declared

that neighborhood sanctified and holy

because

you are there do not accept any

manifestations of the devil where you

live you know III our block where we

live I say father people who serve you

dwell here in the name of Jesus we

banish any kind of negative

manifestation violence whether the home

or the street I have seen over the years

you know how our city has where we live

in Somerville has been blessed and

prospered because there are people like

me and my wife and my family and others

there holy people there are other things

yes but I believe that were we inhabit

like here in Boston we came here in this

place was just destroyed just that just

a scorched earth and in many ways it has

been blessed and this God is still

blessing it yes there is opioid mile

there but I see it as a as a running

commentary I don't see it as a

photograph of evil that is definitive I

see it as yes a place to be defeated

evil still in the process of being

defeated in opioid myelin every day

waging war against it because the the

Church of Jesus Christ is here and we

will not stand for such graphic

manifestations of death and destruction

so every day I go by there I say Lord

show us how to wage effective warfare

against this place every time I see a

person in the throes of an addiction or

whatever I claimed them for Christ I

bless them I say Lord you brought me

through this corner right now at 8 a.m.

or 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. because you wanted

me to bless that person who's just

dragging their feet I say Lord change

their destiny Lord changed the destiny

of this corner I'm not gonna lie I don't

get me going on this I don't I we don't

live in post-christian America I hate

that the image imagery III we don't this

were not impulse Christian anything

we're maybe pre-christian or something

like that or whatever it is but you know

I think we're still at it we're fighting

that but the river of God is still

flowing and cleansing and blessing and

I'm gonna I'm gonna concentrate on the

river of God instead of the roaring

waters okay

the river that refreshes the river Dada

those are our anxiety the river that

blinks brings blessing and healing to

the city that river that Ezekiel sees I

think it's exact 47 is it that River

flowing from the temple to the north to

the south to the east and to the west

and these waters blessing the land the

soil in giving birth to trees of healing

and blessing for the city the city that

the river of God flowing in Boston it is

still flowing it has to stop flowing the

enemies will come but the river is still

there running and blessing the river of

God and and this is this is the

beautiful things as yes the nations are

in uproar and Wow you know he brought

that two thousand years ago or more and

that is so true today but the Lord is

still with us the Lord Almighty is with

us the God of Jacob is our fortress

there's a summary of everything this

whole sound that has been said nothing

more powerful and secure than a fortress

and the Lord is our fortress that

fortress is it's a virtual fortress it

goes with you everywhere you you have

access to it a fortress is not just a

place to to take refuge in and be

defensive about a fortress is also a

place from where the armies open their

doors and they go out to attack the

enemy and that is what the Lord is is

this this place here is a fortress Lion

of Judah is a fortress we come in on a

Sunday like this to be informed to be

challenged to be confronted to be

encouraged to be educated in the kingdom

of God and its values and its teachings

and then we go out there like an army to

conquer tomorrow morning in our jobs in

the subway in the streets wherever we

are in schools all over we go to take

this this energy that we have obtained

this start stabilizing teaching from the

songs that we sing and all the images

that we're given and then we go out

again the Lord is our fortress

this place is a place of stability we

dwell securely this army dwell securely

in the Lord I finish with this in our

last musicians to come forward you know

God is working in history one of the

things that he says here he makes Wars

cease to the ends of the earth he breaks

the bowl shatters the spears he burns a

shield with fire be still and know that

I am God I will be exalted among the

nation's I will be exalted in the earth

again that is a military affirmation I

would add I will yet be exalted I will

yet be exalted among the nation's and in

the earth that's why we can't be content

with this false acknowledgments of

defeat God has said that the church will

not be ever vanquished by the forces of

Hell God will yet have his way and he is

having his way all these things that are

happening in the world actually I don't

know they make me excited I don't know

about you I mean I already gave the

title of my house of the Lord I already

gave the used cars that we have and all

the clothes and everything I eat it's

his and so it leaves me free to be

excited about what he's doing if it if

it takes all these things that I love

and I say that with with fear and

trembling all these things that I love

to advance the kingdom of God so be it

my own life physically I hope that I

have enough courage in my spirit to not

value my life I can walk freely I have

died already I'm dead I'm part of the

walking dead of this city but a dead

person who is very much alive and very

dangerous to hell amen because the life

of God manifests itself in me I want you

to embrace that this morning as well

give up everything that you love right

now in Jesus name just give it up your

dreams

that career that you're so enamored of

your bank account your youth your health

the plans that you have about the future

just give it up right now in Jesus name

give it up give it all up give it to him

give it to him it's rental property it's

a hotel that you inhabit for a little

while and you enjoy but then you got to

go back to the reality Father we yield

our lives to you and we put our trust in

the things that matter and we find our

safety and our hope in you this morning

Father we do grieve with those who are

in pain right now in uncertainty and we

we declare your blessing on Miami and

Naples and

all this this areas father that are

being threatened by these hurricanes and

we grieve with the people of the

Caribbean who have lost all the things

that they hold dear and we grieve with

Houston father we pray your blessing

upon them Lord and we're very mindful of

all the other things that are

threatening humankind the people of

South Korea or have an enemy right next

to them who is capable of destroying so

much of their population we grieve with

them father and we do pray that the

world will turn to you and father this

morning we acknowledge that our trust

and our life and our hope is in you

alone not in anything that we possess

including our bodies including those

beings that we love so much our children

and our loved ones this beautiful city

that we inhabit we know that it is all

destined to be overcome and replaced by

something different so we remember that

this world is what a passing thing and

that you are the only Yosemite left you

are the only mammoth rock that we place

our faith and our comfort on everything

else is secondary Lord this morning we

dwell in you we drink a big big gulp of

peace and rest in you this morning

father we just fill our minds with your

faithfulness and ever-present help a

very present help and we decide to be

still and to know that you are God thank

you God in Jesus name Amen and amen amen