A Few More Scenes

“In [this] world you will have tribulation,” Jesus promises, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” JOHN 16:33 NKJV

God has kept no secrets. He has told us that, while on this yellow brick road [of life], we will experience trouble. Disease will afflict bodies. Divorce will break hearts. Death will make widows and devastation will destroy countries. We should not expect any less. But just because the devil shows up and cackles, we needn’t panic.

Our Master speaks of an accomplished deed.… “It is finished” (John 19:30). The battle is over. Be alert. But don’t be alarmed.… The manuscript has been published. The book has been bound. Satan is loosed for a season, but the season is oh-so-brief.… Just a few more scenes, just a few more turns in the road, and his end will come.

When Christ Comes

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AN EXTRA-ORDINARY NIGHT

Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord.” LUKE 2:11

An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for a God who loves to hook an “extra” on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed. The sheep would have been forgotten, and the shepherds would have slept the night away.

But God dances amidst the common. And that night he did a waltz.

The black sky exploded with brightness. Trees that had been shadows jumped into clarity. Sheep that had been silent became a chorus of curiosity. One minute the shepherd was dead asleep, the next he was rubbing his eyes and staring into the face of an alien.

The night was ordinary no more.

The angel came in the night because that is when lights are best seen and that is when they are most needed. God comes into the common for the same reason. His most powerful tools are the simplest.

from THE APPLAUSE OF HEAVEN

An Eternal Holy Calling

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

There appears to be an apparent conflict between God’s salvation, which was determined “before the world began,” and our present need to persuade men to believe the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:11). Jesus urged whoever was burdened to “come unto me” (Matthew 11:28), while insisting He had chosen His disciples rather than the other way around (John 15:16). Scripture often expresses this paradox.

Ephesians 2:8-9 states that our salvation is “not of works” but comes to us by the grace of God through faith–and even that faith is God’s gift. Few would argue that salvation is some sort of cooperative work between God and man, since there is no question that our salvation is not due to our efforts. Many passages verify that teaching.

Today’s text insists that our salvation was “according to his own purpose and grace.” Our salvation must meet the requirements set by God’s standards. Just what does that demand?

God must be holy and just while justifying the ungodly (Romans 3:36). His holiness cannot be compromised. Thus the incarnate and sinless Redeemer had to be sacrificed in order to reconcile sinful man with a holy God (2 Corinthians 5:21 and Revelation 13:8). Then the absolute sequence of redemption through grace had to be determined for those “who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 and 1 Peter 1:2).

The result of the sacrifice and the sequence had to be fixed so that the redeemed would be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Praise God for His “unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). HMM III

Without faith it is impossible to please Him

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6.)

THE faith for desperate days.

The Bible is full of such days. Its record is made up of them, its songs are inspired by them, its prophecy is concerned with them, and its revelation has come through them.

The desperate days are the stepping-stones in the path of light. They seem to have been God’s opportunity and man’s school of wisdom.

There is a story of an Old Testament love feast in Psalm 107, and in every story of deliverance the point of desperation gave God His chance. The “wit’s end” of desperation was the beginning of God’s power. Recall the promise of seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sands of the sea, to a couple as good as dead. Read again the story of the Red Sea and its deliverance, and of Jordan with its ark standing mid-stream. Study once more the prayers of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, when they were sore pressed and knew not what to do. Go over the history of Nehemiah, Daniel, Hosea, and Habakkuk. Stand with awe in the darkness of Gethsemane, and linger by the grave in Joseph’s garden through those terrible days. Call the witnesses of the early Church, and ask the apostles the story of their desperate days.

Desperation is better than despair.

Faith did not make our desperate days. Its work is to sustain and solve them. The only alternative to a desperate faith is despair, and faith holds on and prevails.

There is no more heroic example of desperate faith than that of the three Hebrew children. The situation was desperate, but they answered bravely, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning, fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” I like that, “but if not!”

I have only space to mention Gethsemane. Ponder deeply its “Nevertheless.” “If it is possible… nevertheless!” Deep darkness had settled upon the soul of our Lord. Trust meant anguish unto blood and darkness to the descent of hell—Nevertheless! Nevertheless!!

Now get your hymn book and sing your favorite hymn of desperate faith.—Rev. S. Chadwick.

“When obstacles and trials seem
Like prison walls to be,
I do the little I can do
And leave the rest to Thee.

“And when there seems no chance, no change,
From grief can set me free,
Hope finds its strength in helplessness,
And calmly waits for Thee.”

Our Master used the title, the “Son of man!”

“The Son of man.” John 3:13

How constantly our Master used the title, the “Son of man!” If He had chosen, He might always have spoken of Himself as the Son of God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Prince of Peace; but behold the lowliness of Jesus! He prefers to call Himself the Son of man.

Let us learn a lesson of humility from our Saviour; let us never court great titles nor proud degrees. There is here, however, a far sweeter thought. Jesus loved manhood so much, that He delighted to honour it; and since it is a high honour, and indeed, the greatest dignity of manhood, that Jesus is the Son of man, He is wont to display this name, that He may as it were hang royal stars upon the breast of manhood, and show forth the love of God to Abraham’s seed. Son of man—whenever He said that word, He shed a halo round the head of Adam’s children. Yet there is perhaps a more precious thought still.

Jesus Christ called Himself the Son of man to express His oneness and sympathy with His people. He thus reminds us that He is the one whom we may approach without fear. As a man, we may take to Him all our griefs and troubles, for He knows them by experience; in that He Himself hath suffered as the “Son of man,” He is able to succor and comfort us. All hail, Thou blessed Jesus! inasmuch as Thou art evermore using the sweet name which acknowledges that Thou art a brother and a near kinsman, it is to us a dear token of Thy grace, Thy humility, Thy love.

“Oh see how Jesus trusts Himself
Unto our childish love,
As though by His free ways with us
Our earnestness to prove!

Betrayed with a Kiss

“Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48

The kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Let me be on my guard when the world puts on a loving face, for it will, if possible, betray me as it did my Master, with a kiss. Whenever a man is about to stab religion, he usually professes very great reverence for it. Let me beware of the sleek-faced hypocrisy which is armour-bearer to heresy and infidelity. Knowing the deceivableness of unrighteousness, let me be wise as a serpent to detect and avoid the designs of the enemy.

The young man, void of understanding, was led astray by the kiss of the strange woman: may my soul be so graciously instructed all this day, that “the much fair speech” of the world may have no effect upon me. Holy Spirit, let me not, a poor frail son of man, be betrayed with a kiss!

But what if I should be guilty of the same accursed sin as Judas, that son of perdition? I have been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus; I am a member of His visible Church; I sit at the communion table: all these are so many kisses of my lips. Am I sincere in them? If not, I am a base traitor. Do I live in the world as carelessly as others do, and yet make a profession of being a follower of Jesus? Then I must expose religion to ridicule, and lead men to speak evil of the holy name by which I am called. Surely if I act thus inconsistently I am a Judas, and it were better for me that I had never been born. Dare I hope that I am clear in this matter?

Then, O Lord, keep me so. O Lord, make me sincere and true. Preserve me from every false way. Never let me betray my Saviour. I do love Thee, Jesus, and though I often grieve Thee, yet I would desire to abide faithful even unto death. O God, forbid that I should be a high-soaring professor, and then fall at last into the lake of fire, because I betrayed my Master with a kiss.

The Most Expensive Meal In History

The Story of JACOB and ESAU as a Comedy Sketch

(Scene opens with JACOB stirring two pots over a mock campfire. ESAU approaches.)

ESAU: What’s in the pot?

JACOB. Which one?

ESAU (points to pot closest to him): That one.

JACOB: Laundry.

ESAU: What about that one over there? (Points to the other pot.)

JACOB: Stew.

ESAU: Stew, huh?

JACOB.: That’s what I said.

ESAU: Any dumplings?

JACOli’4 (giving ESAU a weird look): Dumplings? I think you’ve been out in the wilderness too long.

ESAU: I’m just hungry.

JACOB: you’re welcome to try some … (ESAU starts to get a bowl, but JACOB stops him and smiles) . . . for a price!

ESAU: You mean I have to pay for it?

JACOB): I don’t take credit.

ESAU: But I’m your brother!

JACOB ; No one said you had to leave a tip.

ESAU (disgusted): Well, which one did you say was the stew?

JACOB(pointing): That one over there.

ESAU (goes over and smells the stew; then smells the laundry): How can you tell the difference?

JACOB: The stew has carrots.

ESAU: You know, you may be a great shepherd, and even an above-average farmer. But you’re no cook!

JACOB: Hey, man, if you don’t like it, wait till you get home to eat.

ESAU: I would, but I’m famished!

JACOB:So, how much is a bowl worth to you?

ESAU (takes another whiff of the first pot, then the second pot): Are you sure this one isn’t the laundry?

JACOB:(growing impatient): Do you want a bowl or not?

ESAU: I don’t suppose you know what Mom’s cooking for dinner

JACOB: leftovers.

ESAU: Leftovers of what?

JACOB: Leftovers of last night’s leftovers.

ESAU: Oh, it doesn’t matter. I’ll never be able to wait anyway! (Goes over to first pot and stirs it) I’m so hungry I could eat a—(looks in pot) Hey, didn’t you skin this thing before you cooked it?

JACOB: (Looks into pot): That’s my hat! I said the stew pot’s over there! -(Points.)

ESAU (goes to second pot, looks in, and stirs): I think I’d rather eat the hat!’`

JACOB: Suit yourself.

ESAU: Well, anyway, you haven’t told me what this stew’s going to cost me.

JACOB: I’m willing to make a deal.

ESAU: Yeah? (suspicious) What kind of deal?

_JACOI What would you say if I told you that you wouldn’t have to pay me any money?

ESAU: I’d say you’re up to something.

JACOB: Just give me your birthright and well call it even.

ESAU: My birthright for a bowl of stew? Do I look stupid?

JACOB: One thing at a time, Esau! Now, do you want the stew or not?

ESAU: That’s a pretty high price.

JACOB. You’ve always wanted to be the baby of the family. Now’s your chance.

ESAU: You just want to switch places, huh?

JACOB. I want your birthright.

ESAU (looks at stew pot): I am awful hungry.

JACOB: Do we have a deal then?

ESAU (takes big whiff of stew, sighs, then shakes JACOB’S hand): We have a deal, little brother!

JACOB: Correction. Big brother.

ESAU: Well, then, big brother, hand me a bowl and stand back! I’m starving! (

JACOB (dips some stew into a bowl and hands it to him.) I sure hope this tastes better than it looks!

ESAU: (Takes a bite, then spits it out) There’s rocks in here!

JACOB: A few lumps in the gravy.

ESAU: I know! I just chipped my tooth on one!

JACOB: Sorry, no refunds.

ESAU: But this stuff tastes like mortar!

JACOBA deal’s a deal, little brother.

ESAU: But I made a deal for a bowl of stew. This is cement with carrots!

JACOB:,,A hearty stew is supposed to stick to your ribs!

ESAU: Stick to them, yeah! Not break them on the way down! Hey, why’s my birthright so important to you?

JACOB: It just is.

ESAU: Well, I get the feeling I just traded away something very valuable for a lousy bowl of stew!

JACOB:”You didn’t consider it valuable until you lost it. And now it’s gone, little brother.

ESAU: But you caught me at a weak moment!

JACOB: I had to. Do you think you’d ever trade your birthright for a bowl of my cooking if you weren’t starving?

ESAU: But it wasn’t a fair deal. My birthright will last you a lifetime. I’m only going to be tasting this stew for a month or two!

JACOB:It’s too late to change your mind.

ESAU: But I traded away something everlasting.

JACOB: So, you got what you wanted—a bowl of stew.

ESAU: And everlasting heartburn.

JACOB: It’s not my fault you couldn’t resist the temptation.

ESAU: And I can’t change my mind?

JACOB: Too late for that!

ESAU: Well, in that case, dish me out another bowl . . only this time, make it the laundry!


SIN MAY SEEM PLEASANT FOR A MOMENT……SIN HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES.