Sermon by F. Peters, September 2019 – Central Dutchess SDA Company
My first encounter with bench pressing was a seemingly sad one. I was a freshman in P.E. class and they took a group of us up to the weight room and was trying to familiarize us with the room and the machines. There were some Upperclassmen who had an idea of how to use everything, but myself and a few other freshmen were all new to it. I remember approaching the bar without weight on it and trying successfully to lift it off the rack. The other guys (I was with) were sort of impressed as was I, we thought it was a big deal just to bench the bar. Not too long afterwards, some of the upperclassmen passed by and then they started to bench, but their benching was a little bit different. These guys had actually put 45’s and 35’s on there and were doing more reps than the meager few I did with just the bar. So, of course, at that moment I’m in awe … just a little bit.
Fast forward to the first off season after my year of JV football (embarrassing one win season) it’s time for varsity off season conditioning and training. That’s where the young men who thought that benching the bar was a big deal started to see ridiculous feats of strength from 16-18 year olds: talking about two 45lb plates on each side and numerous reps at that, and also even three 45lb plates like, things that made our new weight room rattle when it was racked. It was a very big deal to me, but little did I know, that by the following year and year after, I would be one of those guys doing multiple reps of 225, reps of 285, reps of even 315 (that’s three 45 lbs plates on each side), I would eventually be one of those guys who would be leaving the freshmen in awe. Currently, the average high school lineman preparing for college ball is pretty much expected to reach those feats, but looking back, that strength was a big deal.
This morning, I would like to speak a bit about Scripture and how it makes a difference.
How can we know God unless we know His story according to the Bible. Let’s pray.
How Do We Know The Lord
We know who God is through His word, by spending time with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, obeying Him.
When Kimberly and I were courting, we spent many hours together, talking, texting, visiting her church alottttt, visiting other churches together, praying together, reading together, eating together, there was a lot of time spent in our 3 year and some change courtship and engagement season and much as I was learning about her and already knew about her, I knew that there were still many, many, many layers of info that she wouldn’t tell nor I would be allowed to know until we entered into this marital covenant. All of that to say that there was plennnnty of time spent.
Here is the same premise but on a more eternal level. In order to know who God is, you must immerse yourself in His story. There are things which you won’t get to know or understand until you are baptized according to His will and even then the daily sanctification period comes with truths which only come after quality time is spent.
The Bible is our daily bread. Quote Deuteronomy 8:3. We should esteem it’s importance more than our necessary food. [As Job mentioned in Job 23:12].
When we consider who God is, and what He is like and how He works, He is willing to reveal Himself. Amazing enough, there was a certain person in the Bible who wanted to behold God’s Glory, but was not exactly permitted to do so, do we know who that certain person was? Moses, correct.
Moses had already spent 40 years being trained and immersed in the depth of Egyptian Culture, learned all what was needed to be known and was next in line to inherit the throne, all of a sudden, in an act of what he felt to be righteous and just, the slaying of a man to defend his people, he ended up having to leave all he knew, and resorted to the deserts of Midian.
It was here that he had to spend another 40 years cooling himself down after so much time in the hotbed of immorality. He spent these next 40 learning humility, patience, trust, and other noble characteristics while shepherding and also got himself a wife.
But the 40 years afterwards would be where his Life work would come to full fruition. He had already seen the glories of Egypt’s Palaces, he had already seen the glories of the fields of Midian, he’s been to both extremes seemingly but now after encountering the Lord in a burning bush experience and, with much hesitation, taking up the mantle given him by the Lord he felt himself ready to behold the best glory, He asked the Lord to show him His glory, and you know what the Lord showed him?
And the Lord told him in Exodus 34:6,7 who He is, by telling of His characteristics.
We know who God is by how we have seen Him deal with people of old in the Word. Whether it be Adam & Eve, Abraham, Noah, David, Peter, Nebuchadnezzar etc. We see various dealings with people according to their circumstances but the same consistency of His more-than-fair Character and Nature. We see who God is in a more present way by…the same thing…how we see Him work in our very lives, how we see Him work in others lives, the blessings which follow obedience and the peace which comes from being scrupulous in regards to His will for us and the curses we place on ourselves which even them is tempered with mercy.
Now it’s important to know who God is by how He has dealt with people in the absolutely true accounts but it means more when you experience Him for yourself and it becomes really real for you.
What I Have Learned
From my ten years with God, here’s what I’ve come to know is true.
He answers sincere prayer.
I usually mention this because this is how He first worked for me but:
1. Gave me the desire to read.
2. My Sister.
3. Related to #2, how scripture worked on her heart, my first experience living in Long Island when I moved in with my Aunt; painful to my Mom but the new environment was a needful change.
The Biggest mistakes that I have ever made have been after I became a Christian. Ways where I totally embarrassed myself and misrepresented God when I could have done things marvelous for His cause. But in those many failures, I have been able to experience firsthand the restorative, pardoning, limitless love that the Lord has for even me and have been made stronger and better for my own salvation’s sake and better equipped to help out another.
- Psalm 119:67 (KJV) Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.
- Psalm 119:71 (KJV) It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.
- He tells us that “we can reason together with him and that though our sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow“ Isaiah 1:18
- The word also tells us that even amazingly “while we were yet sinners He died for us” Romans 5:8
- And that “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:8
“When life is unbearably painful and our hearts break, our greatest comfort comes from our experience of God’s loving character. We discover that He cares deeply about our tragedies and struggles (Psalm 34:18); He notices every tear we shed (Psalm 56:8); and He understands our vulnerabilities (Psalm 103:13- 18). He longs for the day we can live with Him in heaven and He will wipe away all our tears (Rev. 21:1-4)”Quoted From A Week Of Prayer Reading
The Importance of Scripture
One of the main reasons why scripture is important is because we see God clearly reflected in it’s pages, we can and should speak about how the word is hidden in our hearts and how we are living Epistles. But in order for that to happen we better be in His word constantly.
“By reading the Bible, and by focusing on the character of God perfectly expressed through the life of Jesus, we come face to face with the Source of all the love in the universe, and we become changed into His likeness. The more closely we become acquainted with Him, the more closely we can listen to His guidance in our lives.”Mind, Character, Personality Vol 1
When we read, study, share memorize and love His word we grow and are changed into his likeness.
Bench Pressing Story Continuation
Does anyone know what atrophy means? It is a wasting away. So I became one of those strong guys, but I discovered what that word meant in a serious way. After I moved to Long Island and becoming vegetarian (not healthy, but a vegetarian in a way that almost cost me my life), I lost about 70 pounds and was seeing numbers on the scale I hadn’t seen in over ten years. I was playing a lot of basketball with a good friend (who would become my best man) and some other friends who we are still close to, playing football at the beach and a lot of hanging out. So, one night, we decided to go to X-Sports Fitness [a 24hr gym]. It was about 7 or 8 of us. We we’re doing various exercises, challenging each other in different things, not really there to work out but there was some working out going on. Then, we ventured into an area and boom there it was … the bar again, the place where I had acquired much fame, the place where I had acquired much respect, the place where I had guys actually fear me, the place where I had spent hours becoming strong: the bar a.k.a the bench press. So, at this point I knew that I definitely was not at 315 status anymore so I asked for someone to give me a spot and put 225 on, now everyone was standing around in the crew. I was able to lift it off the rack and brought it down with ease, but it wouldn’t budge to get back up. So they helped me to rack it, I stretched my arms, did a couple pushups and went back for it. Same result. I was shocked at how far I had fallen off, but at the same time didn’t care much because I was still strong and the people I was with didn’t know from whence I had fallen and at the same time we were there for fun and for a venue.
What does this have to do with scripture?
Yesterday’s word will not fill you today, last week’s word will not fill you today, we are in need of a word from the Lord every single day, and the day we neglect or forget or are too busy for time with God in his word is when the enemy as a roaring Lion will smell blood and come with an extremely fierce attack. Let us not be found a day without our daily dose of scripture.
I would like to say a special prayer, for those of us who may have realized that we may have become complacent in our quality time with the Lord. Those of us who have not resorted back to prayer and scripture when an issue has arrived, those of us who may find ourselves at a standstill. I won’t ask who this is or may be, but just humbly bow your heads with me. [Pray]