Steps to Satisfaction

Bible Book: Psalms  40 : 1-3
Subject: Satisfaction in Life; Purpose; Life, Meaning of

God makes no mistakes! He never has! He never will!

A long time ago, when there was no one and nothing, God created the heavens and the earth.

God made the sky above and the oceans below, then the fish, the animals, and man. He did everything perfectly.

He made the birds, with their wings to fly; fish, with their fins, gills and tails to swim; and man, with his body, soul and spirit, to have fellowship with God.

In this world bodies break, courage is crushed, minds are mangled, and souls are stabbed. In my eighty-one years of living, my heart has known hurts so horrible, my life has known problems so perplexing, my shoulders have felt burdens so big that I never found help in man or nature.

You might as well go to a hen's nest for wool, a refrigerator for heat, a sewer for good as to go to fame for fulfillment, gold for gratification, or pleasure for peace of mind. Your body, soul and spirit were made for God, and you'll never be satisfied until you come to God.

I. You Must Be Lifted Up

It's written in Psalm 40:1-2, "I waited patiently on for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and He heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit."

This is the picture of a prison in the Middle East in days of old. A deep pit was dug in the earth, just a square, squalid hole; and the prisoners were thrown into it. There was no shelter from the sky or the sides. The rain beat upon them, the heat burned them; and the poor prisoners wallowed in the mire.

That is where David found himself. He confessed in Psalm 51:5, "In sin my mother conceived me." I started my life there, and so did you. Everyone was born there. Some not only start there, but they die there. For our Lord said in John 8:24, "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

Two of my friends of yesteryear were on that pit. They were brilliant, famous and wealthy; but they were addicted to alcohol. They were so gripped by the power of their sin that one day, standing outside a blacksmith shop, the lawyer said, "If I knew what would take away my appetite for drink, I would hold that red-hot piece of iron in my hand and sing the doxology while I did it."

One night in a hotel room in Philadelphia they cut their veins with a knife, and then signed a promise in their blood that they would never take another drink again. But the next morning they were dead drunk.

The attorney died a horrible death of delirium tremens on skid row. The politician repented of his sins, called upon the Lord Jesus and was lifted up out of that horrible pit and became a powerful preacher of the gospel. I was his song leader and soloist for many years. Why don't you call upon the Lord Jesus to lift you out of the pit?

II. You Must Be Fixed Up

It's written in Psalm 40:2, "He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."

Wow! A boulder for a bog, victory for defeat, salvation for damnation. This salvation is the gift of God. It's not imaginary, problematical, or theoretical. It's factual, personal, internal, external and supernatural!

What a change! A doctor examined an actress and said, "You need a change." "A change?" she replied. "In the last two years I've had two husbands, twelve cooks, five cars, four robberies, and seven landlords. What other change can you suggest?" A change of heart, I'd say.

It's written in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If anyone is in Christ, he is anew creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

Years ago a princess was given a little pig that she loved very much. She bathed it, perfumed it, and taught it to be clean. The pig behaved nicely until one day it saw a mud hole. He jumped into it and began to wallow in it, happier than ever.

III. You Must Be Kept Up

It's written in Psalm 40:2, He "established my steps."

The Lord doesn't save you to stumble, but to be steadied; not to trip, but to triumph; not to wobble, but to walk. Whom He converts He keeps!

Before I was saved I had a dance orchestra. I played for burlesque shows, dances and nightclubs. Every time I was tempted I tumbled.

Many times I was asked to become a Christian. I wanted to turn from my sins to the Savior, but I was afraid. I was as weak as wet spaghetti. But one day I was told that the Lord Jesus was able to convert me and to keep me. I was assured by Scripture as well as testimony that when He saved me He'd keep me from slipping and falling back into my sins. That thrilled me and turned my life around. That was the greatest news I had ever heard.

Some time ago we needed five poles on which to hang two beautiful banners: one that reads "Guido Gardens," and the other that says, "The Sower." So I asked my friend to bring me five 15-foot poles and he did. But I was wrong. I needed 18-foot poles.

I asked Arland Carroll, "Can you join 3-foot pieces to the poles and drill holes and put in bolts?" "Yes," he said, "I can. But I won't. The two pieces may come apart too easily. I'll send one of my men with welding equipment. He'll weld them together, and the pole will become just one piece, and they'll never separate."

That's what happened when I became a Christian. I was united to Christ. Nothing and no one can separate me from Him. I am made one by Him.

Being united to Him, I am and every believer is, kept by Him. The Lord who kept Joseph in Egypt, the young Hebrew man in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the lion's den, is able to keep you.

One of my favorite study Bibles is the Scofield Bible. Dr. C.I. Scofield, the editor, was a brilliant man. He had an exciting turn-around experience. He said, "Within a week after my conversion I passed the window of a picture store in St. Louis, and I saw and engraving of a painting of Daniel in the den of lions. The prophet, with his hands tied behind him and the lions circling around him, is looking up and answering the king's questions."

"The one thing I was in mortal fear of, in those days, was that I might go back to my sins. I was a drunken lawyer in St Louis when I was converted, with no power over an appetite for strong drink. I was so afraid of the bar room of a hotel or a club that when I saw I was coming to one I would cross the street. I was in torment day and night. No one had told me anything about the keeping power of Jesus Christ."

IV. You Must Be Tuned Up

It's written in Psalm 40:3, "He has put a new song in my mouth - praise to our God. Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord."

Look at the word "sing". Remove the last letter "g", and you have sin. The difference between sin and sing is God. He takes away sin and gives the believer a song.

One Sunday afternoon my orchestra played at a theatre in my hometown. Flushed with excitement and happiness, I walked home.

I came to an abandoned store and saw that several Protestant churches had gotten together for a revival, and they were singing as I came by. The music was irresistible, and I walked in. It was my first experience in a Protestant revival meeting. The ushers wanted to seat me in the front, everyone knew me. "No," I begged, "give me a chair by the door. When the singing is over I'm gone." But I couldn't leave. I stayed. I got saved, and God gave me a song.

I could play many instruments, but I had no voice. But I had heard how he Lord made a donkey talk. "Lord," I prayed, "if you have made a donkey talk, you can give me a voice and make me sing." And He did.

The Lord put a smile on my face, a spring in my step, and a song in my heart. He tuned me up, and I became a song leader and soloist. I attended the Moody Bible Institute on faith, graduated and was invited to become a member of their evangelistic staff as a musician, all because the "Lord put a new song in my mouth."

One Sunday I was invited to Miami to lead the singing for the then president of the Moody Bible Institute. He preached a powerful sermon in the morning service after I led the singing, and God mightily blessed. That afternoon, fifteen minutes before the youth rally, Dr. Houghton said to me, "You're going to preach and I'm going to lead the singing." "No," I said, "I'm not." "Yes," he said, "you are." He led the singing, I preached, and souls were saved. After the service Dr. Houghton said, "From now on, you'll sing and speak." Today we have this mass media ministry of radio, television, newspapers, internet and publications that circle the globe. Wow! What a tune up the Lord gave me!

V. You Must Be Caught Up

To my surprise, reporters around the world in their shoptalk have often referred to the "Second Coming Type". Not only do they occasionally talk about the Lord's return, so does the Bible.

The promise of the Lord's return is mentioned some 1,845 times in the Bible. 318 of these in the New Testament. The return of the Lord is the dominant theme in seventeen of the Old Testament books and one epistle in the New Testament. In fact, seven out of every ten chapters in the New Testament make some reference of being caught up, and the last verse of our Psalm 40 for today closes by praying, "Do not delay, O my God."

It was a great day for me when I came to Christ. But it will be a far greater day when Christ comes for me and I will be caught up. Paul describes it so vividly in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

At any time, perhaps today, "the Lord Himself will descend from heaven." How? The heavenly messengers said, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven."

How did He go into heaven? Bodily, personally and visibly. How shall He return? Bodily, personally and visibly.

But He will not come to the earth, only toward the earth. He will descend "with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God." Then what will take place? "The dead in Christ will rise first."

Who are "the dead in Christ"? One pastor said, "My church. Man, are my members dead!" But "the dead in Christ" are those who have died trusting in the Lord Jesus as their Savior. When they died, angels carried their spirits and souls home to heaven. All through their lives believers have guardian angels; and the last thing they do for believers is to take them home to heaven. The believers who have died are with the Lord. But their bodies are in the grave. When the Lord shall descend, "the dead in Christ shall rise first." "Why," you may ask, "do they rise first?" A friend answered, "Maybe it's because they're a few feet lower down than we are." But that is God's plan. And our Lord will allow us to meet our loved ones before we meet Him. Then what?

The Bible answers, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." The words "caught up" are most interesting. They mean "to carry off by force". The devil and his demons, whose kingdom is in the atmosphere of this earth, will try to stop Christ and the Christians from going through their territory on their way to heaven. For the Bible tells us that the devil "is the prince of the power of the air." That is why it is necessary for our Lord to come down where we are and carry us off my supernatural force against the devil and his demons. But it will take only a moment.

Think of it! One moment on earth, the next in heaven. One moment in grief, the next in glory. One moment in tears, the next, "He shall wipe away all tears."


In Korea one night a missionary sat beside the bed of his dying wife. For fifteen years they had  served the Lord together, and now she had but a few minutes to live. Even though she was in pain, she felt his pain even harder to bear. Taking hold of his hand, she said, "Dear, don't cry. You'll get me back."

One month passed, and he sat by that same bed. His only son was dying. Seeing his father's tears the boy said, "Don't cry, daddy; don't cry. You'll get me back. Oh, daddy, I see a shining light. It's coming nearer. It's mother. I want to go. But don't cry, daddy. You'll get me back."

A few days later that brokenhearted father was riding on a funeral train behind the body of his son. Suddenly he heard a Korean woman weeping, and then another. One native woman asked, "Why are you crying?" "For the Christian missionary," she answered. "Last month he lost his wife. Today he's going to bury his son." "Don't weep for him," she said. "Weep for yourself. Weep for me. You've lost your son. I've lost mine. We'll never get them back. But that foreign missionary has a way of getting back his dead."

As that man of God laid a white lily over the grave of his boy, he gave himself anew to God to preach the gospel of Christ which give back the Christian dead to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.