May 13, 2011
This song is used for worship at the church who posted it.
May 13, 2011
This song is used for worship at the church who posted it.
Whoever loves money will never have enough money; Whoever loves wealth will not be satisfied with it. ECCLESIASTES 5:10
Greed comes in many forms. Greed for approval. Greed for applause. Greed for status. Greed for the best office, the fastest car, the prettiest date. Greed has many faces, but speaks one language: the language of more. Epicurus noted, “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” And what was that observation of John D. Rockefeller’s? He was asked, “How much money does it take to satisfy a man?” He answered, “Just a little more.” Wise was the one who wrote, “Whoever loves money will never have enough money; Whoever loves wealth will not be satisfied with it” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Greed has a growling stomach. Feed it, and you risk more than budget-busting debt. You risk losing purpose.
from CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE
It’s a growing trend amond businesses to compose a mission statement in order to keep focused on what really matters to the company. When we look at Jesus, we see He had a clear focus on His mission. By age 12, He was already able to verbalize His purpose: He told Mary and Joseph that He had to be about His Father’s business.
As Christians, we may understand the global mandate of the Great Commission, But that can feel so vast in scope that it’s possible to lose sight of how we, as individuals, should implement it at home. It’s a good idea to think in terms of your own personal mission statement, which is a bit like the popular message “Think globally; act locally.” What it means to act locally is expressed in the old hymn “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” (I. D. Ogden, 1913). It begins:
Do not wait until some deed of
greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you
now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
We should never underestimate the power of attending to nearby duties, even if they seem mundane or unimpressive. Second Samuel 23:11-12 (kjv) gives us an interesting example: while all the people were fleeing from the field, Shammah “stood” and “the Lord wrought a great victory.” Your mission right now may be simply to stand. Sometimes that’s all it takes for the Lord to bring about a powerful victory.
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.” (Joshua 1:9-11)
In the army of the Lord, typified here by the Israelites as they prepared for the conquest of Canaan, there must be order rather than irresponsibility. This is evidently the first reference in the Bible to a chain of command in these armies. God commanded Joshua, who had previously been appointed by God, through Moses, to be their human commander-in-chief. “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people,” who were thereafter to “command the people.”
Similarly, there must be a system of orderly responsibility, with loyalty to the Lord exercised through a recognized chain of command, in any church or other Christian organization before any kind of victory for our supreme Commander can ever be won. When “every man |does| that which |is| right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), the organization will fail.
Jesus Christ is the “captain of |our| salvation” (Hebrews 2:10), the Greek word for “captain” meaning, literally, “chief leader,” and it is He who calls and commissions those who are to serve as leaders under Him. Leadership, however, does not imply dictatorship. They must not act as “lords over God’s heritage” but as “|examples| to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3).
Whether we are called to be leaders or followers in God’s spiritual army, each of us must also be willing to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life” (2 Timothy 2:3-4). HMM
“There he proved them.” (Exod. 15:25.)
I STOOD once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and marked with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had been stretched to the breaking point and their tensile strength indicated. Some had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of the steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He knew just what they would bear if placed in the great ship, building, or bridge. He knew this because his testing room revealed it.
It is often so with God’s children. God does not want us to be like vases of glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel, able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost without collapse.
He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the fiercest storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing room of suffering. Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God’s testing room of faith. —J. H. McC.
It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross and alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life’s unquiet sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him.—Macduff.
What if God could not manage to ripen your life without suffering?
“Sing, O barren.” Isaiah 54:1
Though we have brought forth some fruit unto Christ, and have a joyful hope that we are “plants of His own right hand planting,” yet there are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak, each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, requiring the refreshing shower. In such a condition what are we to do? The text is addressed to us in just such a state. “Sing, O barren, break forth and cry aloud.” But what can I sing about? I cannot talk about the present, and even the past looks full of barrenness. Ah! I can sing of Jesus Christ.
I can talk of visits which the Redeemer has aforetimes paid to me; or if not of these, I can magnify the great love wherewith He loved His people when He came from the heights of heaven for their redemption. I will go to the cross again. Come, my soul, heavy laden thou wast once, and thou didst lose thy burden there. Go to Calvary again. Perhaps that very cross which gave thee life may give thee fruitfulness. What is my barrenness? It is the platform for His fruit-creating power. What is my desolation? It is the black setting for the sapphire of His everlasting love. I will go in poverty, I will go in helplessness, I will go in all my shame and backsliding, I will tell Him that I am still His child, and in confidence in His faithful heart, even I, the barren one, will sing and cry aloud.
Sing, believer, for it will cheer thine own heart, and the hearts of other desolate ones. Sing on, for now that thou art really ashamed of being barren, thou wilt be fruitful soon; now that God makes thee loath to be without fruit He will soon cover thee with clusters. The experience of our barrenness is painful, but the Lord’s visitations are delightful. A sense of our own poverty drives us to Christ, and that is where we need to be, for in Him is our fruit found.
“Oil for the light.” Exodus 25:6
My soul, how much thou needest this, for thy lamp will not long continue to burn without it. Thy snuff will smoke and become an offence if light be gone, and gone it will be if oil be absent. Thou hast no oil well springing up in thy human nature, and therefore thou must go to them that sell and buy for thyself, or like the foolish virgins, thou wilt have to cry, “My lamp is gone out.”
Even the consecrated lamps could not give light without oil; though they shone in the tabernacle they needed to be fed, though no rough winds blew upon them they required to be trimmed, and thy need is equally as great. Under the most happy circumstances thou canst not give light for another hour unless fresh oil of grace be given thee.
It was not every oil that might be used in the Lord’s service; neither the petroleum which exudes so plentifully from the earth, nor the produce of fishes, nor that extracted from nuts would be accepted; one oil only was selected, and that the best olive oil. Pretended grace from natural goodness, fancied grace from priestly hands, or imaginary grace from outward ceremonies will never serve the true saint of God; he knows that the Lord would not be pleased with rivers of such oil. He goes to the olive-press of Gethsemane, and draws his supplies from Him who was crushed therein.
The oil of gospel grace is pure and free from lees and dregs, and hence the light which is fed thereon is clear and bright. Our churches are the Saviour’s golden candelabra, and if they are to be lights in this dark world, they must have much holy oil. Let us pray for ourselves, our ministers, and our churches, that they may never lack oil for the light. Truth, holiness, joy, knowledge, love, these are all beams of the sacred light, but we cannot give them forth unless in private we receive oil from God the Holy Ghost.