VIDEO The prayer

The prayer – Sissel Kyrkjebø & Josh Groban

Beautiful! They both have gorgeous voices!

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A Father’s Pride

God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and lives. 2 PETER 3:9

[To those who embrace Christ as Savior,] he has promised a new birth.

Does that mean the old nature will never rear its ugly head? Does that mean you will instantly be able to resist any temptation?

To answer that question, compare your new birth in Christ to a newborn baby. Can a newborn walk? Can he feed himself? Can he sing or read or speak? No, not yet. But someday he will.

It takes time to grow. But is the parent in the delivery room ashamed of the baby? Is the mom embarrassed that the infant can’t spell … that the baby can’t walk … that the newborn can’t give a speech?

Of course not. The parents aren’t ashamed; they are proud. They know that growth will come with time. So does God.

A Gentle Thunder

Standing on Our Principles

Revelation 2:12-17

We all admire men and women of principle who are ready to pay a heavy price for what they believe. At the same time, we do well not to trust everyone who displays conviction. As we see all too often in the news, it is possible to have unsound beliefs that are not based on Scripture.

Even as Christians, we have to be careful, or we could easily mistake personal preferences for convictions. We cannot afford to build our life’s foundation with any materials that are not totally scriptural. The apostle Paul told us that the quality of each man’s work will be tested by fire (1 Cor. 3:13), and that includes what we believe.

Such a test came to a church in a little town called Pergamum in Asia Minor. It was a foul place—Jesus even said that Satan’s throne was there. Evil men were disseminating the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans throughout the local church. A man named Antipas, however, felt strongly that this teaching was wrong and should be confronted. So he stepped forward to oppose it, at the cost of his life.

Yes, Antipas was killed, but listen to the tribute the Lord Himself gave: He referred to this saint as “My witness, My faithful one.” And He commended the church in Pergamum with these words: “You hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas” (Rev. 2:13).

Thank God that the trial of our faith, even though tested by fire, will “result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).

Dr C Stanley

Dividing Light from Darkness

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:3-4)

Initially, the created cosmos was in darkness—a darkness which God Himself had to create (“I form the light, and create darkness”—Isaiah 45:7). But then the dark cosmos was energized by the Spirit’s moving, and God’s light appeared. The darkness was not dispelled, however, but only divided from the light, and the day/night sequence began, which has continued ever since.

This sequence of events in the physical creation is a beautiful type of the spiritual creation, “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Each individual is born in spiritual darkness, but “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). We are now “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” because He “hath delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:12-13).

However, the light in the primeval darkness resulted only in a division of night and day. The night still comes, but God has promised that, in the coming Holy City, “there shall be no night there” (Revelation 22:5).

Just so, even though we have been given a new nature of light, the old nature of darkness is still striving within, and we have to be exhorted: “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). Nevertheless, “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18). When we reach that city of everlasting light, all spiritual darkness will vanish as well, for “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth” (Revelation 21:27), and we shall be like Christ. HMM

I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction

“I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isa. 48:10.)

DOES not the Word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yes, is it not an asbestos armor, against which the heat has no power? Let the affliction come—God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayest stride in at my door; but God is in the house already, and He has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayest intrude; but I have a balsam ready—God has chosen me. Whatever befall me in this vale of tears, I know that He has chosen me.

Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, His presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own. “Fear not, for I am with thee,” is His sure word of promise to His chosen ones in “the furnace of affliction.”—C. H. Spurgeon.

Pain’s furnace heat within me quivers,
God’s breath upon the flame doth blow;
And all my heart in anguish shivers
And trembles at the fiery glow;
And yet I whisper, “As God will!”
And in the hottest fire hold still.

He comes and lays my heart, all heated,
On the hard anvil, minded so
Into His own fair shape to beat it
With His great hammer, blow on blow;
And yet I whisper, “As God will!”
And at His heaviest blows hold still.

He takes my softened heart and beats it;
The sparks fly off at every blow;
He turns it o’er and o’er and heats it,
And lets it cool, and makes it glow;
And yet I whisper, “As God will!”
And in His mighty hand hold still.

Why should I murmur? for the sorrow
Thus only longer-lived would be;
The end may come, and will tomorrow,
When God has done His work in me;
So I say trusting, “As God will!”
And, trusting to the end, hold still.
—Julius Sturm.

The burden of suffering seems a tombstone hung about our necks, while in reality it is only the weight which is necessary to keep down the diver while he is hunting for pearls.—Richter.

And God divided the light from the darkness

“And God divided the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:4

A believer has two principles at work within him. In his natural estate he was subject to one principle only, which was darkness; now light has entered, and the two principles disagree.

Mark the apostle Paul’s words in the seventh chapter of Romans: “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” How is this state of things occasioned? “The Lord divided the light from the darkness.” Darkness, by itself, is quiet and undisturbed, but when the Lord sends in light, there is a conflict, for the one is in opposition to the other: a conflict which will never cease till the believer is altogether light in the Lord.

If there be a division within the individual Christian, there is certain to be a division without. So soon as the Lord gives to any man light, he proceeds to separate himself from the darkness around; he secedes from a merely worldly religion of outward ceremonial, for nothing short of the gospel of Christ will now satisfy him, and he withdraws himself from worldly society and frivolous amusements, and seeks the company of the saints, for “We know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” The light gathers to itself, and the darkness to itself.

What God has divided, let us never try to unite, but as Christ went without the camp, bearing His reproach, so let us come out from the ungodly, and be a peculiar people. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; and, as He was, so we are to be nonconformists to the world, dissenting from all sin, and distinguished from the rest of mankind by our likeness to our Master.

Forget not all His benefits

“Forget not all His benefits.” Psalm 103:2

It is a delightful and profitable occupation to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them. But would it not be even more interesting and profitable for us to remark the hand of God in our own lives? Ought we not to look upon our own history as being at least as full of God, as full of His goodness and of His truth, as much a proof of His faithfulness and veracity, as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before?

We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He wrought all His mighty acts, and showed Himself strong for those in the early time, but doth not perform wonders or lay bare His arm for the saints who are now upon the earth. Let us review our own lives. Surely in these we may discover some happy incidents, refreshing to ourselves and glorifying to our God. Have you had no deliverances? Have you passed through no rivers, supported by the divine presence? Have you walked through no fires unharmed? Have you had no manifestations? Have you had no choice favours?

The God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, hath He never listened to you and answered your requests? That God of lavish bounty of whom David sang, “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things,” hath He never satiated you with fatness? Have you never been made to lie down in green pastures? Have you never been led by the still waters? Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old. Let us, then, weave His mercies into a song. Let us take the pure gold of thankfulness, and the jewels of praise and make them into another crown for the head of Jesus.

Let our souls give forth music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David’s harp, while we praise the Lord whose mercy endureth for ever.