“A Hand From Heaven” was the title of Pastor Vince Giardino’s sermon this past Sunday morning at GLBBC. He opened by reading Psalms 98:1-3 and then thanked God in prayer that the “Lord hath made known his salvation”.
Pastor’s introduction was a true story set in a frontier city. A young boy was saved from a burning home by a courageous man who climbed a hot drainage pipe to the second floor and carried him down. The boy’s grandmother had perished in the fire. Later, when a judge held a hearing as to who would take custody, a farmer, a school teacher, and a banker all claimed to be able to provide for the boy. But a man in the back row stood up, said all he could provide was his love, and showed his scarred hands, burned from the hot pipe. The boy ran into this man’s arms, knowing this was the man that had sacrificed for him. Are you reminded of someone else with scarred hands that sacrificed for you?
The story of Thomas’s unbelief was read from John 20:24-29. Pastor defined the term “Doubting Thomas” as a skeptic, a nonbeliever in Jesus Christ. “We live in an age of skepticism”, Pastor said. To a skeptic who does not believe in that which he cannot see, Pastor suggested we remind them that they cannot see the air they breathe, but it is just as essential to life as is God.
Pastor Giardino then went on to address those who do know the Lord, but doubt that God can reach into their lives to do marvelous things. Jesus said to Thomas, “be not faithless, but believing” John 20:27. God can direct our lives if only we faithfully pray “Lord, I need your hand upon me”, Pastor G. encouraged. He read John 10:25-28 to show that we are in “good hands” as God’s sheep.
In 1 Chron 4 Jabez is shown to have sorrow in his life, but called on God in prayer so “that thine hand might be with me” 1 Chron 4:10. “God is in the granting business”, Pastor Giardino assured us, so that “God granted him that which he requested” 1 Chron 4:10. God responds to humble, sincere prayer and recognition of the need for Him.
After reading Isaiah 59:1, “the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear”, our preacher asked us why we think that God cannot hear or help you? Isaiah 59:2 tells us that it is our own sin that separates us from God. God is reaching down to us with His love and mercy, shining toward us even in our sin. After his story about a record-breaking submarine, Pastor commented that, “God, in all his riches and splendor … has no problem reaching down to the farthest reaches of earth to save anybody.”
Psalms 139:1-10 shows that King David knew full well that God was able to help him, that God had “laid thine hand upon me.” Pastor G. used these verses to let us know that God is able to search us and read our hearts and minds, knowing our intent. Further, he said that we can run but not hide from God’s presence, His Word, and His law. However, God’s grace and mercy intervene, saving us from judgment.
Lam 3:1-10 are sobering words with a double meaning. On one hand, they describe the coming judgment on Israel and Judah because of idolatry, attitude, and short-changing God. But the words also describe the hopeless conditions of man in hell. Pastor warned: “God will judge you!” If we are a saved Christian, we will face the Judgment Seat of Christ, where all we have done for Christ will be put through a refining process. For the unsaved, the White Throne Judgment will be their fate. Rejection of Jesus gets you bound hand and foot and tossed in the lake of fire.