Friday, April 06, 2007

Out of the Pit of Destruction

Psalm 40:1-3 says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.”

Here in this passage, the psalmist describes his life. He describes it as previously being in “the pit of destruction,” in “the miry clay” (v.2). But something happened. Verse 2 says the Lord “brought me up out” and “he set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Verse 3 continues, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.”

When the Lord saved me 23 years ago, I was in “the pit of destruction,” I was in “the miry clay.” I was seriously involved in drugs and saw no way out. My life was disastrous and heading for an ultimate disaster. Everyday was a party for me. I played in a rock and roll band and desired no other way of life. But twenty-three years ago on March 18, 1984, a friend shared with me for about the second or third time the Gospel of Jesus Christ and on this day God opened my eyes and made me one of His children. Since that day my life has been a series of changes.

I began attending the church where my friend went but after three months decided that tongues-speaking was not the biblical norm for today, so I began attending another church. It was at this church where the Lord led me to two brothers who I later worked with in starting a church. During that time I met Theresa. I was attending Bible college and considering moving out of town to attend a different college. The day we met she came with her mother to church. She was home for a summer break from FSU. At first there was no attraction other than my desire for her to know Jesus Christ as her savior. Over the next few months I spent my time sharing with her about Christ and building a friendship. One night when I was getting ready for bed, I was praying and she came to my mind. But this time it was not for salvation because she had now become a believer but it was for something more. I remember asking the Lord if she was the one He was giving me to be my wife. A verse of Scripture that became dear to me during that time was Psalm 37:4-5 which says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” We became good friends. It took a little time to convince her of something more. I remember one occasion where she asked our pastor if I would leave her alone but I was hard-headed and persisted. On another occasion she told me herself after which I responded by vomiting by my car. Eventually the Lord convinced her that I was the one and we began courting. I was still looking for another college to attend so we went to visit the Master’s College in California. During our four day stay, I concluded that this was not the Lord’s will at this time. We then moved to Tallahassee so Theresa could continue her schooling at FSU while I attended the local community college. While we were there I asked her to marry me and she said yes but wanted to wait a year, so we did. We were married in May of 1988 (almost 19 years ago) and moved to Columbia, SC so I could attend Bible college. I had the usual problem of finding a good job, so I worked several different jobs before working for the government. I also pastored my first church with my friend Charlie Swann. It was during our time there that the Lord gave us Jeremy. We stayed there for two years before moving back to Jacksonville. After we moved back we got involved in a church down the road from where we live now. A year later I was invited to pastor another church in our area. During our time there the Lord gave us Naomi. We stayed there for about eight months before leaving to work in youth ministry at another church. While we were there the Lord gave us Karrah. Following that church, I worked with four other churches before starting Changed By Grace. It has been during our time working in this church that God has grown me in areas of ministry that I hadn’t previously experienced.

Our life has been the church. It hasn’t been just for my life but it has permeated every part of our family. We live and breath the church because this is has been the call on my life. In addition to being committed to the church, we have been committed to our family. God has given us 17 wonderful years with Jeremy, 16 with Naomi and 14 with Karrah. We have been able to teach them how to read and write as well as many other things through home schooling for the past 13 years and to follow Jesus Christ. From the time of their birth into this world, they have been under the teaching of God’s Word—in the church but most importantly in the home. God has blessed my life tremendously and He continues to do so today.

David says in this passage: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He has put a new sone in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count” (Ps.40:1-5).

Here the psalmist is expressing his satisfaction of God. John Piper has a statement he always makes which says, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.” He is always the object of our praise and I want to thank Him for saving me. As you celebrate His resurrection this weekend, remember without it there would be no salvation. We would be left in our sins. Recall how He brought you “out of the pit of destruction” and praise Him!

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