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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Are we willing this very night to leave all on earth? Maria Sandberg – 1880

second-coming-of-jesus“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him!” Revelation 1:7

Who is it that will come one day, and whom every eye shall see? The Lord Jesus, the Savior of sinners, the Judge of all men! Every eye shall see Him. My eye shall see Him too! Will it be with fear and terror–that I shall behold the King of kings coming to judgment? Or will my gaze be that of admiration and love for my adorable Redeemer?

All Christians rejoice in the expectation of His second coming, when faith shall be turned to sight. How can we fear the realization of our fondest hopes, the accomplishment of our best desires? The more we look to Jesus now, by faith–the less shall we fear death and judgment. For how, indeed, can we fear to meet our best and dearest Friend?

Paul assures us that there is a crown which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give at His coming–to all who love His appearing. Let us not shrink, then, from meditation on the glorious coming of Christ, but rather look for and expect it as the end of all our sins, sufferings and trials–and the beginning of perfect and eternal happiness!

Let us ask ourselves, “Are we willing this very night to leave all on earth, and go to Jesus?” If we could really see Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and saying to us this very night, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world!”–I am quite sure that nothing on earth could detain us!

“He who testifies to these things says: Surely I am coming quickly!
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

Facing Adversity – Charles Stanley

Obstacle - Man Jumping Over Word on ArrowRead | Hebrews 12:1-2

When a child hurts, our focus is to restore comfort quickly. We remove obstacles so that a toddler will have a clear path to walk. And many parents seek to minimize frustration for school-age children by helping with homework—sometimes offering more assistance than necessary. While wanting to ease children’s discomfort is understandable, we may inadvertently convey a subtle message that obstacles and pain are to be eliminated at all costs. This viewpoint can get carried into adulthood, and unfortunately, it is a harmful one.

Difficulties are a part of life, and if we expect otherwise, we will be consistently disappointed. Then disappointment, if allowed to remain, can turn us away from the Lord. A lot of time can be wasted trying to avoid trials when we could be trusting God for the future. We also expend energy and prayer power seeking to get out of our tough situations instead of asking the Lord how He wants us to respond. Most importantly, God does not view adversity as the tragedy we interpret it to be. As a result, our thinking is in opposition to His.

God sees redemptive value in our trials. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross prove the mighty spiritual work God can accomplish through adversity. He uses difficulties to advance our spiritual life and to achieve His great purposes for us. Rather than “set-backs” in our lives, our struggles are actually opportunities for spiritual advancement.

None of us enjoy trouble, but in this sin-sick world, sorrow and hardships are guaranteed. Let us surrender our thinking and ask to have the mind of Christ, who trusted the Father’s ways even unto death on the cross.

Earthly Enforcers – R.C. Sproul

archangelgabrielAnnunciationbyMurillo1655453pxBartolom_Esteban_Perez_Murillo_023Daniel 12:1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people” (v. 1a).

Central to the biblical description of God is the doctrine of divine providence. Scripture is clear that the Lord did not make the world and then leave it alone to run its course. Rather, He continues to uphold and sustain His creation (Heb. 1:1–4). God’s continuing involvement with creation is according to His design as He works out “all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11).

What is often forgotten when considering divine providence is that the angels are some of the many secondary agents through which the primary agent — God Himself — works out His plan. Angels themselves are not divine; they are creatures who, along with everything else the Almighty has made (Rev. 4:11), have an origin in space and time.

That the Lord uses angels to govern His creation is clear from many places in Scripture. We are familiar with the involvement of angels in certain miraculous events, such as the resurrection of Jesus, when an angel rolled the stone away from the opening of the tomb (Matt. 28:1–10). Yet the Bible seems to teach that angels are involved in everyday events as well, such as the rise and fall of human governments. This is a point made by the twentieth-century Swiss scholar Oscar Cullmann. In a series of essays, Professor Cullmann analyzed passages like Daniel 12:1 and noted that certain angels are apparently linked to certain societies and nations. The influence of the supernatural can be either heavenly or demonic, as illustrated in the conflict between Michael, the one with charge over God’s people, and the prince of Persia (chap. 10). Still, both angels and demons apparently hold great sway and influence over the course of human events, which does not surprise the Father, of course, as He is the Creator.

Scripture also reveals a difference in rank among the angels. Jude 9 refers to the archangel Michael who has a leadership role in the angelic host (archangel means “head angel” or “ruling angel”). Gabriel may also function in this role, though the Bible never calls him an archangel. In any case, this order and rank is not surprising. After all, the angels were created by the God of order.

Coram deo: Living before the face of God

Knowing that the Lord has an army in heaven who wages war against His enemies is very encouraging. Since we are His people, we know that God’s angels are fighting on our behalf and advancing the good plans our Creator has for each of His children. Who knows how many times we each have been rescued from trouble because of the intervention of the Lord’s army? The close calls we experience may just be evidence of God’s angels at work.

Looking to God – Charles R. Swindoll

power-of-prayer-9

As I read Psalm 13 and reflect on the section describing David on his face, overwhelmed with grief and hopelessness, I see two practical areas of application:

1. It was the length of the test that began to weary David. “How long” occurs four times in two brief verses. Let us remember that God not only designs the depth of our trials but also their length. Sometime soon, read the words of the ancient prophet Habakkuk, chapter 1. He too asked, “How long?”

2. In the first two verses of Psalm 13, David turns against everyone and everything except himself. What I learn from this is that when I try to handle a test in the flesh, I turn against God, my enemy, or my circumstance rather than first asking the Lord what He is trying to teach me in this situation. What wonderful lessons God wishes to teach us if our proud hearts would only be willing to melt in the furnace of affliction.

In the midst of his grief and sorrow, David makes a critical choice. Rather than continue the downward spiral of sorrow, he changed his posture. This brings us to the second section of the song.

David on His Knees

Consider and answer me, O LORD, my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. (Psalm 13:3-4)

Something happened to David between stanzas 2 and 3 of his hymn. Perhaps he listened to his own complaints and realized it was self-pity. I’ve done that, haven’t you? Maybe he paused in his composition and looked back over what he had just written . . . and became alarmed at the unbelief that began to surface before his eyes. We observe a genuine and marked difference now. He is up off his face. His despondency is beginning to lift. We find him, at last, on his knees—the place of victory. The martyred missionary, Jim Elliot, once wrote: “The saint who advances on his knees never retreats.”

Please observe how closely verses 3 and 4 are connected with verses 1 and 2. David seems to recollect and redirect his complaints as he talks to the Lord about them. Three changes become apparent.

First, instead of viewing the Lord as being removed and unconcerned (13:1), David requests that He “consider and answer” him (13:3). And don’t miss what he calls the Lord in verse 3—“my God”! The distance is now gone in David’s mind. He is embracing an altogether different outlook.

Second, instead of the despondency and distress that had become his heart attitude due to his attempts to work things out (13:2), he now asks the Lord to “enlighten my eyes.”

Again, the Hebrew gives us a clearer understanding of this. The word translated “enlighten” in verse 3 is in the causative stem, meaning literally “to cause to shine.” In Numbers 6:24-26, the identical term occurs in a benediction we’ve heard many times:

The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The L
ORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The L
ORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.
(Emphasis is mine.)

David’s countenance had lost its “shine.” His face, and especially his eyes, had become hard, flat, and dull. He longed for God’s brightness to reflect itself once again from his eyes—his face had fallen.

I want to state once again that when trials are dealt with in the flesh, the eyes bear the marks of that fact. We cannot hide it. Our entire countenance becomes rigid and inflexible, lacking the “sparkle” and the “light” that once manifested itself from our hearts. When inner joy leaves, so does the “shine” from our eyes.

Third, instead of worrying about his exalted enemy (13:2), David now mentally releases his enemy to the Lord and lets Him take care of the results (13:3-4).

I notice this marked change in David occurred when he decided to lay it all out before God in prayer. Although it sounds like a cliché, our fervent petition is still the most effective oil to reduce the friction from the daily grind of despondency.

Nothing is more helpful and practical in Christian living – J.R. Miller

Nothing isstanding-on-the-promises_t_nv more helpful and practical in Christian living–than the habit of getting a verse or phrase of Scripture into the mind and heart in the morning. Its influence stays through the day, weaving itself into all the day’s thoughts and words and experiences.

Every verse in the Bible is meant to help us to live–and a good devotional book opens up the precious teachings which are folded up in its words.

A devotional book which takes a Scripture text, and so opens it for us in the morning, that all day long it helps us to live, becoming a true lamp to our feet, and a staff to lean upon when the way is rough–is the very best devotional help we can possibly have. What we need in a devotional book which will bless our lives, is the application of the great teachings of Scripture to common, daily, practical life.

Nothing Noble is Attained Easily – J.R. Miller

God Jesus throne cat_rel_hist_02RoberttBarrett“These in white robes–who are they, and where did they come from?”
“These are those who have come out of the great tribulation!” Revelation 7:13-14

In John’s vision the noble saints, shining in white garments and bearing the symbols of battle and victory, had come, not out of ease and soft circumstances; not out of experiences of luxury, from cosy homes, from favored spots and congenial conditions. Rather they had won their nobleness . . .
in hard circumstances,
in fierce struggles,
in sharp temptations,
in bitter sorrows,
in keen sufferings.

Some of us grow impatient of our difficulties and hardships. We brood over them, and come to think that we have not been fairly dealt with by God. Some of us resent our trials, and think that God has not been kind or just with us.

A young man told of his hard trials and losses, his sore bereavements and sorrows, his severe disappointments and struggles, and of the wrongs and injustices he had suffered from those who ought to have been his friends. But all that had seemed so hard, meant an opportunity for this young man to grow into manly strength and heroic Christ-like character.

Those who have the battles and the trials, and overcome in them, shall wear white robes and carry palm branches. They shall be among the victors at the last. Nothing noble is attained easily. The crowns of life, can only be won on the fields of struggle!

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life!” Revelation 2:10

“All who overcome will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be My children!” Revelation 21:7

Why we believe in the 2nd Ammendment

The Divinest Ministries – J.R. Miller

MinistriesThe Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

We must not make the mistake of thinking that Christian service consists merely in prayers, devotions, and acts of worship.

The divinest ministries of each day are the small services of love which God sends across our way. The half-hour the busy man takes from his business . . .
to comfort a sorrow,
to help a discouraged brother to start again,
to lift up one who has fainted by the way,
to visit a sick neighbor and minister consolation, or
to give a young person needed counsel–
is the half-hour of the day that will shine the most brightly when the records of life are unrolled before God.

The secret of abundant helpfulness, is found in the desire to be a help, a blessing, to all whom we meet. We begin to be like Christ only when we begin to wish to be helpful. Where this desire is ever dominant, the life is an unceasing benediction. Rivers of water are pouring out from it continually to bless the world.

“Serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

God’s Light on Dark Clouds – Theodore Cuyler

God_is_LightGod’s strength is “made perfect in our weakness.” This means that the Divine power is most conspicuous, when our weakness is the most thoroughly felt. We have got first to be emptied of all self-conceit and self-confidence. A bucket cannot hold air and water at the same time. As the water comes in–the air must go out. The reason why God give us some hard trials–is to get the accursed spirit of SELF out of our hearts! When we have been emptied of self-trust, then we are in the condition to be filled with might in the inner man, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A Christian must not only realize his own utter feebleness–but he must give up what worldlings rely on, and admit that “vain is the help of man.” That poor woman who had tried all the doctors, and had only grown worse in body, and poorer in purse–is a touching illustration of our invalid souls. She, having despaired of human help–came crouching to the feet of the Son of God. One touch of His garments sent a new tide of health through her veins. Just so–contact with Christ brings currents of the Divine power into our souls–so that we can do all things through Christ who strengths us!

This is the real office of faith. It is simply the linking of our utter weakness–to the omnipotence of Christ! We furnish the weakness–and He furnishes the strength–and that makes the partnership! The baby furnishes a hungry little mouth–and the mother furnishes the nourishing milk. The mother is happy that she can give the full supply–and the rosy darling is happy as it draws in the sweet contentment. What a beautiful picture of my poor, weak, hungry soul–resting on the bosom of the Infinite Love! There is no danger that the supply will ever give out, for my Lord, my Feeder, my Supporter–is constantly saying unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you!” In this way we are strengthened with all might according to His glorious power.

Prayer is – Hannah More, 1811

Prayer is . . .
  the application of need, to Him who alone can relieve it;
  the voice of sin, to Him who alone can pardon it; prayer21
  the urgency of spiritual poverty;
  the prostration of pride;
  the fervency of penitence;
  the confidence of trust.

Prayer is . . .
  not eloquence, but earnestness;
  not the confession of helplessness, but the feeling of it;
  not figures of speech, but compunction of soul. 

Prayer is the “Lord, save me! I am perishing!” of drowning Peter.

Prayer is the cry of faith to the ear of divine mercy.

Adoration is the noblest employment of created beings.
Confession is the natural language of guilty creatures.
Gratitude is the spontaneous expression of pardoned sinners.

Prayer is the earnest desire of the soul. It is not mere conception of the mind, nor a mere effort of the intellect, nor an act of the memory; but an elevation of the soul towards its Maker; a pressing sense of our own ignorance and infirmity. Prayer is a consciousness . . .
  of the majesty of God,
  of His readiness to hear,
  of His power to help,
  of His willingness to save.

Prayer is the outpouring of the heart unto our loving heavenly Father.

Biblical Thinking – Charles Swindoll

wolf_in_sheeps_clothing

A man will not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved. Proverbs 12:3

I want to be quite direct with you. Secular thought has taken a tragic toll on the servant of God’s distinctiveness.

This has begun to influence the church. Many a believer has surrendered his mind to the world system.

The uniquely Christian mind, therefore, is a rare find. Humanism, secularism, intellectualism, and materialism have invaded our thinking to such a marked degree our [testimony] has become diluted—in some cases, nonexistent.

Influenced and impressed by the press, our secularized system of education, shallow social expectations, and the quasi-omnipotent forces of conformity to peer pressure (not to mention the impact of television and movies), Christian servants can easily be caught in the trap. We can literally stop thinking biblically.

Take heed!