I Need Thee Every Hour – Annie Hawks
This song expresses a need we all have all the time.
I Need Thee Every Hour – Annie Hawks
This song expresses a need we all have all the time.
Once we have the favor of God through salvation, does it matter how we act? The Bible responds with an emphatic “Yes!” and gives us numerous examples of godly lives to consider.
• Noah responded to God by walking with Him daily. And our Father responds positively to those who walk closely with Him, live by His Word, and listen carefully to His Holy Spirit. For those of us who believe, that means not only making Scripture a vital part of our lives but also learning who God is and what He likes. How well do you know Him?
• Moses, despite initial protests, chose to obey the divine call and live life God’s way. The Lord favors followers who choose His preferences over their own—that is, those who think about their life in terms of pleasing Him. This requires learning to think as He does. How closely do your thoughts align with His?
• Paul, after his conversion, lived with the single-minded focus of serving Jesus. He sought to do his best by means of inward and outward obedience. The Lord favors those whose hearts are bent toward Him. Do others see that your life is centered around Christ?
• Mary responded with trust and did not doubt when the angel announced that she would give birth to the Messiah. God extends His blessings to those who choose to believe even when evidence says otherwise. How much do you trust the Lord?
We find favor with our heavenly Father through believing minds, responsive hearts, and obedient spirits. Won’t you let this increasingly describe you?
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. PSALM 23:3 NKJV
It’s hard to see things grow old. The town in which I grew up is growing old.… Some of the buildings are boarded up. Some of the houses are torn down.… The old movie house where I took my dates has “For Sale” on the marquee.…
I wish I could make it all new again. I wish I could blow the dust off the streets … but I can’t.
I can’t. But God can. “He restores my soul,” wrote the shepherd. He doesn’t reform; he restores. He doesn’t camouflage the old; he restores the new. The Master Builder will pull out the original plan and restore it. He will restore the vigor. He will restore the energy. He will restore the hope. He will restore the soul.
The Applause of Heaven
“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus.” (2 Timothy 2:16-17)
Paul’s earlier warning about “word fights” (2 Timothy 2:14) is strengthened in the text above with a different emphasis. Word fights are “picky” debates started by quarrelsome people. They are useless and divisive. They create conflicts and schisms.
Profane and vain babblings, however, are worldly and valueless “noise.” Less obvious and more subtle than fighting, they have the effect of destroying godliness. “But refuse profane |ungodly| and old wives’ fables |myths, baseless stories|, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7).
Because “godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8), Paul strongly urged Timothy to “keep |guard| that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
The “oppositions” spoken of are the “antithesis”—the conflict, the stand against knowledge. Paul calls this anti-knowledge a pseudonumos—a false name. It sounds like knowledge but is not true.
The results of these “babblings” are not good. Ungodliness will increase. Error will eat away at spiritual health and truth like gangrene. The two church leaders that Paul mentions, Hymenaeus and Philetus, are listed as examples of such a cancer. They taught that the resurrection had already occurred for the saints.
Peter’s warning is very similar: “Beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17). HMM III
“I will make all my mountains a way.” (Isa. 49:11.)
GOD will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross—we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.
“Oh, fools, and slow of heart!” These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long. Thou hast prayed for patience through long years, but there is something that tries thee beyond endurance; thou hast fled from it, evaded it, accounted it an unsurmountable obstacle to the desired attainment, and supposed that its removal would secure thy immediate deliverance and victory.
Not so! Thou wouldest gain only the cessation of temptations to impatience. But this would not be patience. Patience can be acquired only through just such trials as now seem unbearable. Go back; submit thyself. Claim to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus. Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there. We know that God will not fail to keep His promise. “God understandeth the way thereof and knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven”; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way.—Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer.
“The meaning of trial is not only to test worthiness, but to increase it; as the oak is not only tested by the storms, but toughened by them.”
“So she gleaned in the field until even.” Ruth 2:17
Let me learn from Ruth, the gleaner. As she went out to gather the ears of corn, so must I go forth into the fields of prayer, meditation, the ordinances, and hearing the word to gather spiritual food. The gleaner gathers her portion ear by ear; her gains are little by little: so must I be content to search for single truths, if there be no greater plenty of them. Every ear helps to make a bundle, and every gospel lesson assists in making us wise unto salvation. The gleaner keeps her eyes open: if she stumbled among the stubble in a dream, she would have no load to carry home rejoicingly at eventide.
I must be watchful in religious exercises lest they become unprofitable to me; I fear I have lost much already—O that I may rightly estimate my opportunities, and glean with greater diligence. The gleaner stoops for all she finds, and so must I. High spirits criticize and object, but lowly minds glean and receive benefit. A humble heart is a great help towards profitably hearing the gospel. The engrafted soul-saving word is not received except with meekness. A stiff back makes a bad gleaner; down, master pride, thou art a vile robber, not to be endured for a moment. What the gleaner gathers she holds: if she dropped one ear to find another, the result of her day’s work would be but scant; she is as careful to retain as to obtain, and so at last her gains are great.
How often do I forget all that I hear; the second truth pushes the first out of my head, and so my reading and hearing end in much ado about nothing! Do I feel duly the importance of storing up the truth? A hungry belly makes the gleaner wise; if there be no corn in her hand, there will be no bread on her table; she labours under the sense of necessity, and hence her tread is nimble and her grasp is firm; I have even a greater necessity, Lord, help me to feel it, that it may urge me onward to glean in fields which yield so plenteous a reward to diligence.
“Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” Ephesians 1:11
Our belief in God’s wisdom supposes and necessitates that He has a settled purpose and plan in the work of salvation. What would creation have been without His design? Is there a fish in the sea, or a fowl in the air, which was left to chance for its formation? Nay, in every bone, joint, and muscle, sinew, gland, and blood-vessel, you mark the presence of a God working everything according to the design of infinite wisdom. And shall God be present in creation, ruling over all, and not in grace? Shall the new creation have the fickle genius of free will to preside over it when divine counsel rules the old creation? Look at Providence!
Who knoweth not that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father? Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. God weighs the mountains of our grief in scales, and the hills of our tribulation in balances. And shall there be a God in providence and not in grace? Shall the shell be ordained by wisdom and the kernel be left to blind chance. No; He knows the end from the beginning. He sees in its appointed place, not merely the corner-stone which He has laid in fair colours, in the blood of His dear Son, but He beholds in their ordained position each of the chosen stones taken out of the quarry of nature, and polished by His grace; He sees the whole from corner to cornice, from base to roof, from foundation to pinnacle.
He hath in His mind a clear knowledge of every stone which shall be laid in its prepared space, and how vast the edifice shall be, and when the top-stone shall be brought forth with shoutings of “Grace! Grace! unto it.” At the last it shall be clearly seen that in every chosen vessel of mercy, Jehovah did as He willed with His own; and that in every part of the work of grace He accomplished His purpose, and glorified His own name.