April "Week 1"
From the Desk of the Pastor
Psalm 121 KEEP LOOKING UP OUR HELP IS ONLY IN THE LORD We are still in the midst of this storm in our life. Just to follow up, our worship services are temporarily cancelled as we abide by the policies of the State and local authorities Stay at Home Order to not congregate with more than 10 people through April 30th. I am still working on doing a service that will be taped at the church and perhaps be placed on the website. I will have to work out the logistics of making this possible with limited people in the sanctuary. We are also looking into setting up an automated call system that will give current information out to members and will reach a larger group of members that do not access computers. There are also Sunday Live Stream services at Atherton Baptist Church (8am) & Christ Second Baptist Long Beach (9:30am). This an opportunity to view local services on the computer. Also services can be live streamed from Calvary Baptist Church in Chicago (9am & 1pm PST) calvarychicago.org – Shiloh Baptist Church Trenton can be watched on Shiloh Trenton Facebook.
Also note that on Good Friday April 10th, Atherton Baptist Church will have a live stream stage production of The Cross at 7pm. You can access at www.athertonbc.org We will have available a “Drive-Through Communion” on Easter Sunday April 12th. Also based on the crisis we will be switching to the prefilled communion cups and bread. Yes we will have to survive the foam bread but for health purposes it is clearly the way to move at this time. The time for this will be from 10am to 12pm on Easter Sunday the 12th.
I am at the church on Sunday mornings from 9am to 12pm every Sunday. Feel free to drop by if you are in area.
All tithes and offering received by mail or drop off will be deposited on Tuesday of each week Finally what can we do as a body of Christ during this time that we are experiencing this physical distancing from each other. • Continue Reaching Out to One Another – Calls, Emails, texting messages • Continue praying for one another • Certainly an Opportune Time to Read Scripture and Christian literature Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU!! BE SAFE! BE WELL!
Above is the YouTube video for the song "My Help" sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Psalm 121 KEEP LOOKING UP OUR HELP IS ONLY IN THE LORD
As we continue this year through the Easter season, the entire world is especially stressed. The global pandemic continues to spread. The world’s financial markets are under stress. In this country, at least, there is political turmoil. There is social upheaval. There is a growing fear that our national and world leaders are not up to the challenges that face us. Christians are suffering terrible persecution in many parts of the world. Or course, these troubles have all been with us in one degree or another since the fall of Adam. All to often, the world looks for help in all the wrong places. They think help comes from within. We look for someone with a new idea. There is hope and change. For a moment, the sky brightens only to be later dashed into cynicism. So where can we find help? The 121st Psalm has that answer for us.
THE SOURCE OF MY HELP – Vss. 1-2
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
THE SLEEPLESSNESS OF MY HELP – Vss. 3-4
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
THE STRENGTH OF MY HELP – Vss. 5-6
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
THE STEADFASTNESS OF MY HELP – Vss. 7-8
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Psalm 121 is a Psalm that tells those who are born again Christians, that they are Kept By God! In this Psalm we discover four things about God’s keeping. GOD’S KEEPING IS A CHOICE – Vss. 1-2 This morning you are trusting someone or something to keep you and to give you a sense of worth. The choice is yours. There are many bad things to trust and only one good one. Psalm 121:1 - I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. It is possible that this is the song of a traveler who is approaching the great city of Jerusalem which was surrounded by hills. We all have hills that we look to. In spite of hills, Jerusalem was often defeated. Hills are not the ultimate source of help. What are some of the “hills” that people look to today?
There is the hill of my own ability and my own self effort. I can make it on my own. I will be comforted by my own ability to control things. - Unfortunately We are human. We are fallible. We are all sinners. We have failed God. Isaiah 64:6
There is the hill of friendship - I will depend on my friends to comfort, keep, and help me but – friends often fail us, disappoint us, and even turn on us.
There are the hills of religion including the hill of law keeping. If I’m religious, attending church, being baptized, taking communion, doing religious things, then I am kept securely. but – there are many false religions out there, and just being religious never got anyone into Heaven. Proverbs 14:12, Matthew 7:21
There is the hill of morality. If I live a good, clean, moral life, that will help through my problems and make me acceptable to God. – but Every person has broken the Gods commandments. Romans 3:23
There is the hill of good works. So I know I’m not perfect, but if I just do lots of good things for people, I will be kept and secure. Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done but by HIS MERCY.
There is the hill of being born into the right family. If I have been born into and/or baptized into a Christian family, then I am kept by God and secure. – And just being born into a Christian family doesn’t make me a Christian any more than being born in a garage would make me a car.
There are the hills of hobbies and sports. I have lots of toys and play lots of games. I’ll just trust these for comfort and diversion when things are bad. Well not much diversion in those right now - No NBA - No NCAA - No Masters - No Wimbledon – And then at the end of life, what will they be worth?
There is the hill of popularity. As long as I am loved and accepted by others, I’m okay. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul = Luke 9:25
We see now that many things that we counted on and trusted in have been taken away from us. As we are in the midst of our current circumstance its clear that are help cometh only from the Lord If all the above things are my “help”, I don’t really have much help. 1 John 2:17, Psalm 121:2 - My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. What qualifies the Lord to help us? He has all the power needed as creator of the universe! I already mentioned how human, and flawed, and sinful we are. If a righteous God is going to have anything to do with us, He has to do something to help us with our sin problem. He did just that He sent His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God to earth. On earth the Sinless Son of God died in your place and mine for our sins. Isaiah 53:5-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21, The Good News is that Jesus didn’t stay dead. He arose! Notice in the Psalm that a decision was made on the part of the author. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. We all need to make a similar decision. Now if you are a Christian, if you have trusted Christ as Savior, where is your help coming from? Whatever you spend time with is an indication of where you sense your help is coming from. Make sure your help is coming from the Lord. Make Him your choice. Verse 1: Some folks would rather have houses and land, some folks choose silver and gold, these things they treasure and forget about their souls; Ive decided to make Jesus my choice. Chorus: The road is rough, the going gets tough, and the hills are hard to climb. I started out a long time ago, theres no doubt in my mind; I have decided to make Jesus my choice. GOD’S KEEPING IS CONSCIENTIOUS - Vss. 3-4 Psalm 121:3-4 - He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. God has made a commitment to keep you. The Lord Jesus has made a commitment to keep you. John 10:27-30 Almighty God is watching out for you 24/7. He doesn’t take a nap. He doesn’t take a vacation. He is too conscientious. GOD’S KEEPING IS COMFORTING - Vss. 5-6 Psalm 121:5-6 - The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. God is a great Keeper! He has all the resources of the universe at his disposal to meet my needs. He has all the power of omnipotence to protect me, so that nothing under the Sun or under the moon can hurt me, unless it is in his perfect will for my life. We all have testimonies of just how God has kept each one of us. He has kept us when finances were low. He has kept us when we were in danger. He has kept us from the slander of others. He has kept us during times of sickness and health. He has kept us alive, and even when we die, he will still keep us alive. John 11:25-26 GOD’S KEEPING IS COMPLETE - Vss. 7-8 Psalm 121:7-8 - The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. God will take care of you even as you face evil. He promises that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God. Romans 8:25-29 If you know the Lord as Savior, you are kept by God. If your loved ones know Jesus as Savior they are kept by God. Psalm 46:1-3 – "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 foam and the mountains quake with their surging." the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord will keep us while we are here, 1 Pet. 5:7. And, that He will continue this ministry throughout eternity! Ours is a priceless, endless guarantee. This is simply a reminder of the wonderful doctrine of the security of the believer. In Jesus, we are preserved forever! I am grateful this evening that I have these promises for my journey. What about you? I am glad that I do not have to look to this ever changing world for my help and for my security. There is a great God in heaven who is interested in everything that happens in my life. My burdens are His burdens, my problems are His problems, my worries are His worries. My duty is to trust Him, and His duty is to take care of me. He is always performing His duty! Am I performing mine? We just need to cast all our cares on him for he careth for us.