VIDEO The Summons Hymn

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I’ll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me..

Song and lyrics of ‘The Summons’, or ‘Will you come and follow Me’. Words, John L. Bell & Graham Maule, copyright (c) 1987 WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow G2 3DH, Scotland.

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE!

You led your people like a flock by using Moses and Aaron. PSALM 77:20

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). For many people, life is—well, life is a jungle. Not a jungle of trees and beasts … Our jungles are comprised of the thicker thickets of failing health, broken hearts, and empty wallets … We don’t hear the screeching of birds or the roaring of lions, but we do hear the complaints of neighbors and the demands of bosses …

Whether you are a lamb lost on a craggy ledge or a city slicker alone in a deep jungle, everything changes when your rescuer appears.

Your loneliness diminishes, because you have fellowship. Your despair decreases, because you have vision. Your confusion begins to lift, because you have direction.

You haven’t left the jungle. The trees still eclipse the sky, and the thorns still cut the skin … It hasn’t changed, but you have. You have changed because you have hope. And you have hope because you have met someone who can lead you out.

from TRAVELING LIGHT

Flight Simulator

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. —John 16:33

When airplane pilots are training, they spend many hours in flight simulators. These simulators give the students a chance to experience the challenges and dangers of flying an aircraft—but without the risk. The pilots don’t have to leave the ground, and if they crash in the simulation, they can calmly walk away.

Simulators are tremendous teaching tools—helpful in preparing the aspiring pilot to take command of an actual aircraft. The devices, however, have a shortcoming. They create an artificial experience in which the full-blown pressures of handling a real cockpit cannot be fully replicated.

Real life is like that, isn’t it? It cannot be simulated. There is no safe, risk-free environment in which we can experience life’s ups and downs unharmed. The risks and dangers of living in a broken world are inescapable. That’s why the words of Jesus are so reassuring. He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Although we can’t avoid the dangers of life in a fallen world, we can have peace through a relationship with Jesus. He has secured our ultimate victory.by Bill Crowder

Outward troubles may not cease,
But this your joy will be:
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace
Whose mind is stayed on Thee.” —Anon.

No life is more secure than a life surrendered to God.

Prepared Hearts

“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” (Ezra 7:10)

It does not come naturally into our hearts to seek, obey, and then teach others the words of God as found in the Scriptures. Therefore, like Ezra, we must prepare our hearts.

The Hebrew word for “prepare” means to “stand erect,” and thus takes special effort. One’s natural “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), not at all inclined to “stand up” for the Word of God.

But Ezra did, even in the court of a pagan king and in the midst of the enemies of God’s people in a far country, and even among the backslidden people of his own nation. He prepared his heart, fixing it in firm faith on the laws and promises of God. And because he did, he could testify: “I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me” (Ezra 7:28).

On the other hand we read, for example, of King Rehoboam whose rebellion and sin led to the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms and eventually into the captivity. These judgments came because, unlike Ezra, Rehoboam “did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

Thus, our hearts need to be prepared to seek God and His Word, but how do we get them prepared? First, we must come to Him in true humility. “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear” (Psalm 10:17).

God is then the One who actually prepares our hearts! “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:1). We can only prepare our hearts to seek and serve God if we humbly call on Him to do the preparing. HMM

Concerning the work of my hands command ye me

“Concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” (Isa. 45:11.)

OUR Lord spoke in this tone when He said, “Father, I will.” Joshua used it when, in the supreme moment of triumph, he lifted up his spear toward the setting sun, and cried, “Sun, stand thou still!”

Elijah used it when he shut the heavens for three years and six months, and again opened them. Luther used it when, kneeling by the dying Melanchthon, he forbade death to take his prey. It is a marvelous relationship into which God bids us enter. We are familiar with words like those which follow in this paragraph: “I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” But that God should invite us to command Him, this is a change in relationship which is altogether startling!

What a difference there is between this attitude and the hesitating, halting, unbelieving prayers to which we are accustomed, and which by their perpetual repetition lose edge and point! How often during His earthly life did Jesus put men into a position to command Him! When entering Jericho, He stood still, and said to the blind beggars:

“What will ye that I shall do unto you?” It was as though He said, “I am yours to command.” Can we ever forget how He yielded to the Syrophenician woman the key to His resources and told her to help herself even as she would?

What mortal mind can realize the full significance of the position to which our God lovingly raises His little children? He seems to say, “All my resources are at your command.” “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” —F. B. Meyer.

Say to this mountain, “Go,
Be cast into the sea”;
And doubt not in thine heart
That it shall be to thee.
It shall be done, doubt not His Word,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

Claim thy redemption right,
Purchased by precious blood;
The Trinity unite
To make it true and good.
It shall be done, obey the Word,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

Self, sickness, sorrow, sin,
The Lord did meet that day
On His beloved One,
And thou art “loosed away.”
It has been done, rest on His Word,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

Compass the frowning wall
With silent prayer, then raise—
Before its ramparts fall—
The victor’s shout of praise.
It shall be done, faith rests assured,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

The two-leaved gates of brass,
The bars of iron yield,
To let the faithful pass,
Conquerors in every field.
It shall be done, the foe ignored,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!

Take then the faith of God,
Free from the taint of doubt;
The miracle-working rod
That casts all reasoning out.
It shall be done, stand on the Word,
Challenge thy mountain in the Lord!
—Selected.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said… Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods.” Daniel 3:16,18

The narrative of the manly courage and marvellous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny and in the very jaws of death. Let young Christians especially learn from their example, both in matters of faith in religion, and matters of uprightness in business, never to sacrifice their consciences. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal. Be not guided by the will-o’-the-wisp of policy, but by the pole-star of divine authority. Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no present advantage, walk by faith and not by sight. Do God the honour to trust Him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle.

See whether He will be your debtor! See if He doth not even in this life prove His word that “Godliness, with contentment, is great gain,” and that they who “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, shall have all these things added unto them.” Should it happen that, in the providence of God, you are a loser by conscience, you shall find that if the Lord pays you not back in the silver of earthly prosperity, He will discharge His promise in the gold of spiritual joy.

Remember that a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of that which he possesseth. To wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart void of offence, to have the favour and smile of God, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield, or the traffic of Tyre could win. “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith.” An ounce of heart’s-ease is worth a ton of gold.

Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it

“A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But He said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:27,28

It is fondly imagined by some that it must have involved very special privileges to have been the mother of our Lord, because they supposed that she had the benefit of looking into His very heart in a way in which we cannot hope to do. There may be an appearance of plausibility in the supposition, but not much. We do not know that Mary knew more than others; what she did know she did well to lay up in her heart; but she does not appear from anything we read in the Evangelists to have been a better-instructed believer than any other of Christ’s disciples.

All that she knew we also may discover. Do you wonder that we should say so? Here is a text to prove it: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Remember the Master’s words—”Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” So blessedly does this Divine Revealer of secrets tell us His heart, that He keepeth back nothing which is profitable to us; His own assurance is, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Doth He not this day manifest Himself unto us as He doth not unto the world?

It is even so; and therefore we will not ignorantly cry out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee,” but we will intelligently bless God that, having heard the Word and kept it, we have first of all as true a communion with the Saviour as the Virgin had, and in the second place as true an acquaintance with the secrets of His heart as she can be supposed to have obtained. Happy soul to be thus privileged!