Sole Provider, Sole Comforter

Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. MATTHEW 11:28

As long as Jesus is one of many options, He is no option.

As long as you can carry your burdens alone, you don’t need a burden bearer. As long as your situation brings you no grief, you will receive no comfort. And as long as you can take him or leave him, you might as well leave him, because he won’t be taken half-heartedly.

But when you mourn, when you get to the point of sorrow for your sins, when you admit that you have no other option but to cast all your cares on him, and when there is truly no other name that you can call, then cast all your cares on him, for he is waiting in the midst of the storm.

The Applause of Heaven

THE RIGHT DIRECTION

For the good of your name, lead me and guide me. PSALM 31:3

Your Shepherd knows that you were not made for this place. He knows you are not equipped for this place. So he has come to guide you out. He has come to restore your soul. He is the perfect one to do so.

He has the right vision. He reminds you that “you are like foreigners and strangers in this world” (1 Peter 2:11). And he urges you to lift your eyes from the jungle around you to the heaven above you.

He also has the right direction. He made the boldest claim in the history of man when he declared, “I am the way” (John 14:6). People wondered if the claim was accurate. He answered their questions by cutting a path through the underbrush of sin and death … and escaping alive. He’s the only One who ever did. And he is the only One who can help you and I do the same.

from TRAVELING LIGHT

Very Good

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)

On several occasions during the Creation Week, God had declared aspects of His creation as “good” (vv. 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). But once His crown of creation was in place, the very image of Himself (vv. 26-27), He pronounced it all “very good” and ceased His creative activity (2:1-3).

Just what does it mean to be “very good” in God’s eyes? This term is used elsewhere in the Old Testament by men and regarding men, but here God Himself, the sinless, ever-living One, declares creation to be just what He wanted–able to accomplish and fulfill each of His plans and desires for it. Whatever else may be said about this creation, at the very least it must have been without death, being a phenomenon anathema to Him.

Death is identified as “The last enemy that shall be destroyed” (1 Corinthians 15:26). “Death reigned from Adam to Moses” (Romans 5:14), and “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Indeed, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). The source of this condition is known as the curse pronounced on all of creation due to man’s rebellion against God (Genesis 3) as had been promised (2:17). Even today “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and since all sin, all must die. Truly, sin has ruined God’s original sinless, deathless, “very good” creation.

But the story does not end there. The very Creator who pronounced the awful curse of death as the penalty for sin has Himself died to pay that penalty and one day will repeal the curse (Revelation 22:3) and abolish death (21:4). The creation will be returned to its original created intent, and all will once again be “very good.” JDM

Hold our confidence steadfast unto the end

“We are made partaker of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14.)

IT is the last step that wins; and there is no place in the pilgrim’s progress where so many dangers lurk as the region that lies hard by the portals of the Celestial City. It was there that Doubting Castle stood. It was there that the enchanted ground lured the tired traveler to fatal slumber. It is when Heaven’s heights are full in view that hell’s gate is most persistent and full of deadly peril. “Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” “So run, that ye may obtain.”

In the bitter waves of woe
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors that faith has cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail.

And fierce though the fiends may fight,
And long though the angels hide,
I know that truth and right
Have the universe on their side;
And that somewhere beyond the stars
Is a love that is better than fate.
When the night unlocks her bars
I shall see Him—and I will wait.
—Washington Gladden.

The problem of getting great things from God is being able to hold on for the last half hour.— Selected.

Doubts and fears

“Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” Psalm 35:3

What does this sweet prayer teach me? It shall be my evening’s petition; but first let it yield me an instructive meditation. The text informs me first of all that David had his doubts; for why should he pray,”Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation,” if he were not sometimes exercised with doubts and fears? Let me, then, be of good cheer, for I am not the only saint who has to complain of weakness of faith. If David doubted, I need not conclude that I am no Christian because I have doubts.

The text reminds me that David was not content while he had doubts and fears, but he repaired at once to the mercy-seat to pray for assurance; for he valued it as much fine gold. I too must labour after an abiding sense of my acceptance in the Beloved, and must have no joy when His love is not shed abroad in my soul.

When my Bridegroom is gone from me, my soul must and will fast. I learn also that David knew where to obtain full assurance. He went to his God in prayer, crying, “Say unto my soul I am thy salvation.” I must be much alone with God if I would have a clear sense of Jesus’ love. Let my prayers cease, and my eye of faith will grow dim. Much in prayer, much in heaven; slow in prayer, slow in progress. I notice that David would not be satisfied unless his assurance had a divine source. “Say unto my soul.” Lord, do Thou say it! Nothing short of a divine testimony in the soul will ever content the true Christian. Moreover, David could not rest unless his assurance had a vivid personality about it. “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.”

Lord, if Thou shouldst say this to all the saints, it were nothing, unless Thou shouldst say it to me. Lord, I have sinned; I deserve not Thy smile; I scarcely dare to ask it; but oh! say to my soul, even to my soul, “I am thy salvation.” Let me have a present, personal, infallible, indisputable sense that I am Thine, and that Thou art mine.

History Channel Unveils Notable Miniseries ‘The Bible’

by Randy J. Guliuzza, P.E., M.D. *

The History Channel cable network began on March 3, 2013, a ten-hour new miniseries based on the Bible that will be broadcast over five Sundays. Without a doubt, the show confronts viewers with the question “Is the Bible literally true?”

The series is co-produced by actress Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and her husband producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice, The Apprentice), who have professed a love for the Bible and approach it as being both true history and factually accurate. The project cost over $20 million, and a large group of Bible scholars and theologians contributed.

During several interviews, including ones with journalists Cynthia McFadden1 and Bill O’Reilly,2 the principal question asked of Downey and Burnett was whether they believe the Bible’s narrative accounts are fictional stories, allegories, or literally true history. The couple stated unequivocally that “on this project, there’s only one way to approach this. You have to take the Bible as a fact.”3

O’Reilly asked, somewhat skeptically, if The Bible miniseries was intended to facilitate belief in a real Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, and Jonah and “the whale.” Viewers of the History Channel programs may themselves wonder how they should approach these narratives.

Well, it is important for Christians to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ—whom Christians hold as the incarnation of God—both believed and taught the so-called “stories” that skeptics have always doubted and still question today.

Was there a literal Adam and Eve, a real man named Noah who rode out a global flood, and someone called Jonah who was swallowed by a fish and survived inside it for three days? The most definitive and ready references are Jesus’ own responses. So, O’Reilly’s questions do have answers—straight from the lips of the Lord Jesus.

Divine Inspiration

The Bible has one author, God Himself, whose Holy Spirit directed each writer’s content while allowing individual styles to shine through. Jesus affirmed this when He said, “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Mark 12:36). In regard to the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, Jesus knew that writers of biblical content, like David in Psalm 110:1, were in fact being inspired by the Holy Ghost (or Spirit).

Supernatural Creation

The Lord also referred to the creation account in Genesis 1 and the elaboration of specific creation details in Genesis 2 when He coupled these narratives together in regard to the marriage of a man and a woman:

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:3-6)

Jesus specified the timing of the creation in Mark 10:6-8: “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Humans were not only directly made by God; they existed “from the beginning.”

Worldwide Flood of Noah

The Lord cautioned that His return to earth would be sudden, worldwide, and catch most people unaware, just like it was before the Flood that Noah and his family survived:

But as the days of No’e [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that No’e entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)

Jonah

The Lord illustrated His death and resurrection by Jonah’s very real ordeal inside the great fish: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

On an optimistic note, Burnett and Downey hope that the miniseries prompts a billion people to “either open the Bible or reopen the Bible.”3 Perhaps their faithful renditions of biblical history, undergirded by the prayers of the producers (and others), will attain that goal.

The Institute for Creation Research’s website contains hundreds of articles detailing scientific research confirming the Bible’s teachings about the origins of the earth and the highly complex living creatures it houses. There are very good reasons to be certain of the Bible’s teachings and promises. But scoffers will always try to intimidate people into embarrassment, doubt, and disbelief.

Christians who hold to the literal truth of the Bible should try not to worry what others think about us personally. Why? First, history shows that attacks on the Bible come and go, but the Bible has always prevailed. Second, the scoffers and we will someday stand before Christ. His Word is again instructive:

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)

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References

‘The Bible’: Remaking the Oldest Stories Ever Told. ABC News online video. Posted on abcnews.go.com February 27, 2013, accessed February 28, 2013.
History Channel debuts epic miniseries ‘The Bible.’ The O’Reilly Factor online video. Posted on foxnews.com February 27, 2013, accessed February 28, 2013.
Whitman, J. Hollywood Couple Created ‘The Bible’ Mini-Series to ‘Set the Record Straight.’ ABC News online video. Posted on abcnews.go.com February 27, 2013, accessed February 28, 2013.

* Dr. Guliuzza is ICR’s National Representative.

irc.org