#17 Strength, Security and Serenity for YOU in 2002! Part VI (23/03/02)

By Robert H. Schuller

We are continuing our series of messages on the Psalms, because we want to give you the strength, security and serenity in 2002 that my son and I have, and we get it from the Bible.

Strength, security and serenity are found through all the Psalms and this morning I am choosing selected verses from Psalm 51, written by King David. Let me remind you about David. David was a superhero. Who are your heroes? From the movies, some would say Arnold Schwartzneger, the Terminator or Tom Hanks. Today, in our country there are many heroes since 9-11, such as our firefighters and police officers and now our military persons in Afghanistan. Well, David was a hero of the heroes in his time and in his life.

He was the youngest of several children. Then one day the prophet, Samuel, was told that the next king following Saul would be one of Jesse's sons. So he went to check out the sons of Jesse to see which one was destined by God to be the new king.

Jesse brought his oldest son. No, it was not he. Then the second and the third until finally the prophet had seen all of Jesse's sons, but the prophet could feel that none of them were anointed by God. Samuel said, "Are these all your children?" And Jesse said, "Oh, I have a very young son, but he's out tending the sheep." The prophet ordered, "Bring him here." So they brought in David and instantly the prophet said, "This is he. He will be the next king!" Wow.

So David's life was only getting started. He was just a simple boy. He loved the sheep. He loved the country. And he loved to play his harp, even while he was grazing the sheep. He loved music. Later when David became king, he would have an orchestra and a chorus of 3,000 musicians.

When King Saul was in a terrible depression and looked for something to help him, he said, "Bring me some music!" So King Saul's advisors brought the little shepherd boy, David, to play his harp and he sang some of these Psalms that he wrote. They were beautiful. Many of the Psalms that we are studying and sharing these weeks are songs that the little shepherd boy, David, wrote. He was a composer and a musician, and a man of profound and deep spirituality.

The time came when David replaced King Saul ¡K from the farm to the king! From a hut to the palace! And it was a palace! David was a great King. Anything he wanted he had ¡K the garments, the riches, the luxury all around him. He had only to lift his finger and every want would be granted. From the humility and the humble background of a lowly shepherd to the king, that was our hero, David. Then something happened.

His power went to his head, and David lost his humility and he became proud and dishonest. He looked out of his palace window and saw this beautiful woman bathing ¡K he wanted her ¡K and he got her and made her pregnant. Her husband, Uriah, was away fighting a battle when David discovered she was pregnant. David conspired and tried to get her husband to come back quickly, at least to spend some time with her, because then her husband would never know that her pregnancy was caused by someone else.

David was in trouble ¡K big trouble ¡K and Uriah refused to come back and sleep with his wife because, he said, "My job now is to fight for my country." So David's plan did not work. Then David got another idea. He said, "Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is the worst and where most of our soldiers are being killed. Put him there." And that worked. Uriah was killed and his wife, Bathsheba, was now free for David to marry. The child was born ¡K but the child would die.

Then alone, David takes a walk mentally, the most treacherous path a person can take. The most daring journey you can possibly make is when you allow your mind to go deep into your heart of hearts ¡K to your secret, sensitive, seared soul which is sick and hurting ¡K then and there David found God again and he writes this Psalm.

Psalm 51
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me ¡K cleanse me from my sin.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts.
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Make me to hear joy and gladness again.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and
Renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

and uphold me with Your generous Spirit
Then my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth
shall show forth your praise.

There are more verses, but these are the key verses for today. Later on, David is called by God, "A man after My own heart." How shocking.

I remember my Grandpa saying to me one day, "Bob, who is the most beloved man in the Bible?"

I said, "I suppose it was John. Jesus called him, 'My beloved disciple.'"

"No," my Grandpa answered, "I think it was David. God said, 'he is a man after My own heart.'"

Yes, the capacity of God's loving kindness is amazing ¡K to forgive, to forget and to wash out the terrible past to the degree where He can say to David, "This man is a man after My own heart."

So I invite you this morning to take a trip, a journey into the most intimate secret center of your soul. The psychologists call that the subconscious, I suppose. I call it "the heart of hearts." You know, we all carry some secrets. And some are heavier than you may know. But if you take this trip that David took, it is the key that will give you the emotional security and the subconscious healing that can give you the spiritual foundation for strength, security and serenity.

What does this Psalm do? What does this kind of penitence do? Psalm 51 gives you two things: Humility and honesty. You have read of my trials in life in my autobiography, My Journey [1]. There was a time when I was in a trial so I picked up the phone and I called my very special friend, J.B. Fuqua from Atlanta, Georgia. At that time J.B. was chairman of six companies being sold over the New York Stock Exchange. He is one of the greatest corporate dealers in the history of the United States of America. You can read all about him in his book, "Fuqua." [2] He has given away over 100 million dollars to charity. He is one of our nation's most honored philanthropists. J.B. answered and I told him my problem. He said, "Bob, just be honest and humble. I have used those two words all my life and they will always work." Honesty and humility - I've never forgotten that.

Be Honest and Humble

Why do some of you lack the courage to take the trip that this Psalm calls for you to make? Probably even though you call yourself a believer, maybe you call yourself a Christian, or maybe you call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, but you have never gone into your heart of hearts. Maybe it is hostility against a father who may be dead ¡K a mother who is no longer living. Maybe it's against somebody ¡K your wife or an earlier wife or husband.

Joshua Loth Liebman was the first psychiatrist to call that to our attention in a book that made the best seller list fifty years ago. It's title - "Peace of Mind." [3] He tells about a colleague who was a professor of philosophy at the University, and he was an atheist. And Joshua Liebman said, "You know for the fun of it, let's try some depth analysis." And the professor, against his better judgement said, "Okay, I'll go under analysis." And he went under analysis. He went on the couch, took the Freudian treatment and in that experience uncovered a childhood memory, a very bad punishment that his father inflicted upon him just before his father took him to the synagogue where he was taught about the Heavenly Father. At that point, atheism set its roots. He didn't like his father and if there's a Heavenly Father ¡K one father was bad enough ¡K he didn't want two. Emotionally he became an atheist. When that was uncovered, Josuah Liebman led him to a warm faith. That's remarkable.

I don't know what you're carrying with you, but the tendency is for us to push the horrible memories into our subconscious. Forget about them and walk away. Act like it never happened. That does not work. You have a negative element weighing in the collection of thoughts that make up your subconscious and it's very hard to be a believer in God if you have some emotional turbulence deep within yourself.

And it's unbelievable how that can negatively affect your creativity. You cannot be creative if you are harboring guilt ¡K or jealousy ¡K or fear ¡K or resentment ¡K or anxiety. David writes:

"Create in me a clean heart O God,
and renew a right spirit within me."

This kind of honesty and humility will set you up to be a believer in God again and that will affect your creativity in a postive way.

Leonardo da Vinci was painting his famous painting of Jesus, and little children liked to come in and watch him. A little boy was there and knocked over some canvases just as da Vinci was about to touch the eyes of Jesus on the canvas. da Vinci exploded with anger. He scolded the boy and sent the children out. Now alone, he picked up the brush again, but he couldn't feel what he'd been feeling. He couldn't paint. His creativity was gone.

So he put the brush down and went out in the streets to where the children were playing to search for the boy. When he found him, da Vinci said, "Son, I'm sorry. What I did was far worse than what you did. I allowed anger to come in, and I can't paint anymore. Please come with me." And the little boy followed Leonardo da Vinci back to the studio. Now there was a feeling of forgiveness. As da Vinci looked at the little boy's eyes he picked up the brush and painted the eyes of Jesus. That beautiful painting is seen by millions ever since.

Negative emotions that aren't discharged live on through all you do, and if you allow them, they have immortality! Get rid of the negative emotions. I don't know what they are. For David it was guilt. It was shame of the highest sort.

Do you know what Psalm 51 is? Did you catch it as you read it? It's a prayer. "Have mercy upon me, O God. Cleanse me. Create in me a clean heart. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation!"

Do you dare to pray this prayer? Do you dare to go to the intimate secret center of your soul where no one has ever been allowed to see ¡K or feel ¡K or touch? Well, you don't dare to go there alone. I go there. I go there all the time, but I never go alone. I always bring with me my Best Friend whom I can trust ¡K who knows all my secrets and loves me after He's seen me at my worst. His name is Jesus Christ, and He always goes along with me. He always reaffirms me, reassures me and tells me He loves me as much as He ever has ¡K even when He sees me at my worst.

Where does this prayer lead? This prayer will lead you to Jesus Christ. And do you know what He will say to you? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)

Yes, as you unload your anxiety, your guilt, your fear, whatever it is, you will you feel the presence of God, alone and quietly with Him.

Where are you today? Do you want strength? ¡K security? ¡K serenity? You'll have that in the deepest part of your being for you know there is a God and He loves you. And you know He lived in this world once in the body of Jesus Christ. And this Jesus Christ has the power, with scars on the palms of His hands, to forgive you ¡K to Forgive you! He had the power to forgive those who would crucify Him. No greater sin was ever committed than that. Jesus Christ is alive! I believe that! I live that way. I talk to Him. I walk with Him. He whispers to me. He is my Best Friend.

I invite you to come and follow Jesus Christ¡K embrace Him. You will be washed ¡K you'll be clean ¡K you will hear joy and gladness. And the spiritual footings will be there for strength, for security and for serenity.

How do you go about it? Simple, very simple, that's what will probably hold you back, the simplicity of it. It's a mental decision.

You say, "What if that's wrong?" Well let me tell you, if I've been wrong for 75 years, I wouldn't change it for anything. It's been a wonderful life.

Thank you, Lord, that there is a place where faith happens. Because You love me, You will walk with me, Jesus, into the center of my heart of hearts, into my private, secret soul. And there You will wash me, cleanse me, encourage me and continue to love me evermore. Thank you. Amen.

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