The Message of God to Man

When Jesus tasted the vinegar, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and died. JOHN 19:30

“It is finished.”

Stop and listen a moment. Let the words wind through your heart. Imagine the cry from the cross. The sky is dark. The other two victims are moaning. Jeering mouths of the crowd are silent. Perhaps there is thunder. Perhaps there is weeping. Perhaps there is silence. Then Jesus draws in a deep breath, pushes his feet down on that Roman nail, and cries, “It is finished!”

What was finished?

The history-long plan of redeeming man was finished. The message of God to man was finished. The works done by Jesus as a man on earth were finished.… The sting of death had been removed. It was over.

No Wonder They Call Him the Savior

Making Up For Lost Time

Joel 2:21-27

None of us can say that we have no regrets. Often we are led down paths of bad choices—some paths longer than others—which can have a lingering effect on the mind, body, and soul.

A friend of mine spent a number of years living a life of alcohol and drug abuse. But God did an amazing work in his life, and he recently celebrated 25 years of being free from substance abuse. He now runs a successful business, has a devoted wife, and his children love Jesus. He has a passion to reach out to others who are in the ditch of life, and he serves as a wise and loving mentor in the rescue operations of their lives.

God never gives up on us! Even if we’ve made poor choices in the past that have left us with regret, we can choose how we will live now. We can choose to continue destructive living, simply wallow in regret, or we can run to Christ believing that He has ways to “restore . . . the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). When we repentantly seek His healing and freeing power, He is merciful.

While some consequences from the past may remain, we can be confident that God has a good and glorious future for those who trust in Him!by Joe Stowell

Lord, it is with humble and grateful hearts that we
come to You and lay all that we have been in the past
at Your feet. Take us as we are and make something
beautiful out of our lives that brings glory to You!

God never gives up on making something beautiful out of our lives.

Reject Favoritism

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” (James 2:1)

Evidently the believers in the early church were much like us, in that they tended to honor and favor wealthy individuals in their congregations. James commands them to reject such partiality and gives the reasons why.

The first reason is that God’s perspective is just the opposite. He favors the one of low rank. “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom?” (v. 5).

Next, we see that favoritism never impresses the rich–it always backfires. “Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” (v. 6). Showing favoritism is not practical.

Then, note that the favored ones are probably least deserving. In fact, often “they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called” (v. 7). In doing so, they dishonor the Lord, in whose name we gather.

Finally, such favoritism is a violation of “the royal law,” that summary statement of God’s plan for our relationships: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (v. 8). If the law is kept, “ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin. . . . For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (vv. 8-10).

Peter (previously a bigoted Jew) had learned this lesson, first in a vision, and then in his miraculous ministry to the Gentiles. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34).

As our text reveals, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and showing favoritism on any basis (not only riches, but color, education, ethnic, or national background, etc.) are not compatible. JDM

What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light

“What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light.” (Matt. 10:27.)

OUR Lord is constantly taking us into the dark, that He may tell us things. Into the dark of the shadowed home, where bereavement has drawn the blinds; into the dark of the lonely, desolate life, where some infirmity closes us in from the light and stir of life; into the dark of some crushing sorrow and disappointment.

Then He tells us His secrets, great and wonderful, eternal and infinite; He causes the eye which has become dazzled by the glare of earth to behold the heavenly constellations; and the ear to detect the undertones of His voice, which is often drowned amid the tumult of earth’s strident cries.

But such revelations always imply a corresponding responsibility—”that speak ye in the light— that proclaim upon the housetops.”

We are not meant to always linger in the dark, or stay in the closet; presently we shall be summoned to take our place in the rush and storm of life; and when that moment comes, we are to speak and proclaim what we have learned.

This gives a new meaning to suffering, the saddest element in which is often its apparent aimlessness. “How useless I am!” “What am I doing for the betterment of men?” “Wherefore this waste of the precious spikenard of my soul?”

Such are the desperate laments of the sufferer. But God has a purpose in it all. He has withdrawn His child to the higher altitudes of fellowship, that he may hear God speaking face to face, and bear the message to his fellows at the mountain foot.

Were the forty days wasted that Moses spent on the Mount, or the period spent at Horeb by Elijah, or the years spent in Arabia by Paul?

There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valley of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silenced the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food.

Thus alone can the sense of God’s presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly, with the Psalmist, “Thou art near, O God.”—F. B. Meyer.

“Some hearts, like evening primroses, open more beautifully in the shadows of life.”

Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins

“Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.” Psalm 25:18

It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins—when, being under God’s hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain, but remember our offences against God. It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow: it was to God that David confessed his sin. Observe, then, we must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God, for He counteth the hairs of your head; and your great sorrows you may commit to Him, for He holdeth the ocean in the hollow of His hand. Go to Him, whatever your present trouble may be, and you shall find Him able and willing to relieve you. But we must take our sins to God too. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.

The special lesson of the text is this:—that we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right spirit. Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, “Look upon mine affliction and my pain;” but the next petition is vastly more express, definite, decided, plain—”Forgive all my sins” Many sufferers would have put it, “Remove my affliction and my pain, and look at my sins.” But David does not say so; he cries, “Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to Thy wisdom. Lord, look at them, I will leave them to Thee, I should be glad to have my pain removed, but do as Thou wilt; but as for my sins, Lord, I know what I want with them; I must have them forgiven; I cannot endure to lie under their curse for a moment.” A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale than sin; he can bear that his troubles should continue, but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.

Poured out like water

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.” Psalm 22:14

Did earth or heaven ever behold a sadder spectacle of woe! In soul and body, our Lord felt Himself to be weak as water poured upon the ground. The placing of the cross in its socket had shaken Him with great violence, had strained all the ligaments, pained every nerve, and more or less dislocated all His bones. Burdened with His own weight, the august sufferer felt the strain increasing every moment of those six long hours. His sense of faintness and general weakness were overpowering; while to His own consciousness He became nothing but a mass of misery and swooning sickness.

When Daniel saw the great vision, he thus describes his sensations, “There remained no strength in me, for my vigour was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength:” how much more faint must have been our greater Prophet when He saw the dread vision of the wrath of God, and felt it in His own soul! To us, sensations such as our Lord endured would have been insupportable, and kind unconsciousness would have come to our rescue; but in His case, He was wounded, and felt the sword; He drained the cup and tasted every drop.

“O King of Grief! (a title strange, yet true
To Thee of all kings only due)
O King of Wounds! how shall I grieve for Thee,
Who in all grief preventest me!”

As we kneel before our now ascended Saviour’s throne, let us remember well the way by which He prepared it as a throne of grace for us; let us in spirit drink of His cup, that we may be strengthened for our hour of heaviness whenever it may come. In His natural body every member suffered, and so must it be in the spiritual; but as out of all His griefs and woes His body came forth uninjured to glory and power, even so shall His mystical body come through the furnace with not so much as the smell of fire upon it.