Sermon Detail

Strength for the Journey Strength for the Journey: The Happy Pursuit II

July 30, 2023 | Buster Brown

“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!"  Psalm 84:10-12

“The Christian faith is a doctrine not of the tongue but of life. It is not apprehended by the understanding and memory alone, as other disciplines are, but it is received only when it possesses the whole soul, and it finds a seat and resting place in the inmost affections of the heart… and takes it’s seat in the soul and effect the whole man a hundred times more deeply than the cold exhortations of the philosophers.” John Calvin, The Institutes 3-6-4

“There are two ways in which a practical moralist may attempt to displace from the human heart its love for the world — either by a demonstration of the world’s vanity, so that the heart shall be prevailed upon simply to withdraw its regards from an object that is not worthy of it; or, by setting forth another object, even God, as more worthy of its attachment, so that the heart shall be prevailed upon not to resign an old affection, which shall have nothing to succeed it, but to exchange an old affection for a new one... From the constitution of our nature, the former method is altogether incompetent and ineffectual, and the latter method will alone suffice for the rescue and recovery of the heart from the wrong affection that domineers over it.”  Thomas Chalmers, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection

*I’d rather be a doorkeeper…
…for the Lord is a sun and a shield.
…the Lord bestows favor (goodwill) and honor

"So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man."  Proverbs 3:4
"The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will."  Proverbs 21:1

"Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed."  Proverbs 3:16, 18

…no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

"I am this day seventy years old, a monument of Divine mercy and goodness, though on a review of my life I find much, very much, for which I ought to be humbled in the dust; my direct and positive sins are innumerable, my negligence in the Lord’s work has been great, I have not promoted his cause, nor sought his glory and honor as I ought, notwithstanding all this, I am spared till now, and am still retained in his Work, and I trust I am received into the divine favor through him."  William Carey (1761-1834)

“But the sheer joy of it all comes back…how gladly would I do it all over again in some unoccupied seaport of west Arabia.”  Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952)

"For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa... Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice." David Livingstone (Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 1981, 259)


1. “Anyone who waits for happiness will never be happy. If we realize we are undeserving, suddenly the world comes alive. Instead of whining about everything that goes wrong, we are surprised at God’s many kindnesses and our hearts overflow with thanksgiving.”  Randy Alcorn, Happiness

2. The happiest people in the world are those who have a deep, gratitude-drenched relationship with Christ (versus the entitled perspective of saying "I deserve this" and "I deserve more.") 

3. Those whose hearts are set on the goodness and provision of Christ find that joy is never far away (the importance of the daily waiting/watch). Psalm 103.

4. The gospel of grace is essential because it points to the known deficiencies in all of us. 

“Retain a single shred or fragment of legality (I must do this to earn God’s favor) with the gospel and we raise a topic of distrust between man and God.”  Thomas Chalmers, The Expulsive Power of a New Affection, p 28-29

“She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” (the Misfit) Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find