IS THAT ALL THERE IS?

Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. 1 CORINTHIANS 15:3

Maybe you’ve gone through the acts of religion and faith and yet found yourself more often than not at a dry well. Prayers seem empty. Goals seem unthinkable. Christianity becomes a warped record full of highs and lows and off-key notes.

Is this all there is? Sunday attendance. Pretty songs. Faithful tithings. Golden crosses. Three-piece suits. Big choirs. Leather Bibles. It is nice and all, but … where is the heart of it? …

Think about these words from Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3. “I passed on to you what I received, of which this was most important: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say.”

There it is. Almost too simple. Jesus was killed, buried, and resurrected. Surprised? The part that matters is the Cross. No more and no less.

from NO WONDER THEY CALL HIM THE SAVIOR

How to Stay Young Your Entire Life

Psalm 103:1-5

When we read “how to stay young,” most of us think in terms of the physical body. Yet a youthful heart attitude can contribute greatly to keeping us young.

What characterizes such an attitude?

1. A youthful approach to life
. This includes curiosity, passion, enthusiastic responses, optimistic viewpoints, and enduring confidence. Jesus promises us a full life (John 10:10). Are you passionately pursuing the Lord and life in Him?

2. Active pursuit of learning. The young at heart are willing to embrace new ideas, make changes in their lives, and adapt to new things. For Christians, God’s Word is to be a primary source of learning (2 Tim. 3:16). What have you learned from the Bible this past week, and how has it impacted your life?

3. A hopeful outlook in the face of trials. A youthful attitude is resilient and able to find meaning and strength in adversity (Rom. 5:3-5). Ask the Lord to increase your trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope (15:13).

4. A “people” orientation. Those who are youthful in spirit willingly reach out in friendship. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, whom will you befriend?

Beware of hindrances to being young at heart. One obstacle is self-absorption, which can close us to new ideas, new people, and even to the Spirit’s call. Heed Jesus’ command to deny self (Matt. 16:34). If self-focus describes you, confess it, and seek to have a youthful heart attitude. You’ll experience the inward vitality that characterizes the young at heart (2 Cor. 4:16).

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” (Proverbs 9:1)

The foundation of the house of wisdom is “the fear of the LORD. . . the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). One does not finally reach the Lord through much study and the acquisition of much wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the very “beginning of wisdom.” Without a reverent trust in the God of creation and redemption, there can be no true wisdom. “For other foundation can no man lay than . . . Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Then, erected upon this foundation and supporting all the superstructure of the “house of wisdom” are seven mighty pillars or columns. But what are these? The answer seems to be found in that New Testament book of wisdom, the book of James, where it is said that “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). Then, “a wise man and endued with knowledge . . . [will] show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13).

Finally, the seven great pillars seem to be listed in James 3:17: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” The first in the list or central column, carrying more weight than any of the other columns in the structure, is purity. Then there are six outside pillars. One is peaceableness; the next is gentleness; then comes reasonableness (“easy to be entreated”). The next phrase, “full of mercy and good fruits,” connotes helpfulness. The term for “without partiality” actually means humility, and then the final pillar is sincerity.

Thus, a life of genuine wisdom is a life founded upon the fear of the Lord and supported by genuine purity, peaceableness, gentleness, reasonableness, helpfulness, humility, and sincerity. Such a house will never fall! HMM

Thou remainest

“Thou remainest.” (Heb. 1:11.)

THERE are always lone hearth-fires; so many! And those who sit beside them, with the empty chair, cannot restrain the tears that will come. One sits alone so much. There is some One unseen, just here within reach. But somehow we don’t realize His presence. Realizing is blessed, but—rare. It belongs to the mood, to the feelings. It is dependent on weather conditions and bodily conditions.

The rain, the heavy fog outside, the poor sleep, the twinging pain, these make one’s mood so much, they seem to blur out the realizing. But there is something a little higher up than realizing. It is yet more blessed. It is independent of these outer conditions, it is something that abides. It is this: recognizing that Presence unseen, so wondrous and quieting, so soothing and calming and warming. Recognize His presence—the Master’s own. He is here, close by; His presence is real.

Recognizing will help realizing, too, but it never depends on it. Aye, more, immensely more, the Truth is a Presence, not a thing, a fact, a statement. Some One is present, a warm-hearted Friend, an all-powerful Lord. And this is the joyful truth for weeping hearts everywhere, whatever he the hand that has drawn the tears; by whatever stream it be that your weeping willow is planted.—S. D. Gordon.

When from my life the old-time joys have vanished,
Treasures once mine, I may no longer claim,
This truth may feed my hungry heart, and famished:
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! THOU art still the same!

When streams have dried, those streams of glad refreshing—
Friendships so blest, so rich, so free;
When sun-kissed skies give place to clouds depressing,
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Still my heart hath THEE.

When strength hath failed, and feet, now worn and weary,
On gladsome errands may no longer go,
Why should I sigh, or let the days be dreary?
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Could’st Thou more bestow?

Thus through life’s days—whoe’er or what may fail me,
Friends, friendships, joys, in small or great degree,
Songs may be mine, no sadness need assail me,
Lord, THOU REMAINEST! Still my heart hath THEE.
—J. D. Smith.

If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law

“If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Galatians 5:18

We who looks at his own character and position from a legal point of view, will not only despair when he comes to the end of his reckoning, but if he be a wise man he will despair at the beginning; for if we are to be judged on the footing of the law, there shall no flesh living be justified. How blessed to know that we dwell in the domains of grace and not of law! When thinking of my state before God the question is not, “Am I perfect in myself before the law?” but, “Am I perfect in Christ Jesus?” That is a very different matter.

We need not enquire, “Am I without sin naturally?” but, “Have I been washed in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness?” It is not “Am I in myself well pleasing to God?” but it is “Am I accepted in the Beloved?” The Christian views his evidences from the top of Sinai, and grows alarmed concerning his salvation; it were better far if he read his title by the light of Calvary. “Why,” saith he, “my faith has unbelief in it, it is not able to save me.” Suppose he had considered the object of his faith instead of his faith, then he would have said, “There is no failure in Him, and therefore I am safe.” He sighs over his hope: “Ah! my hope is marred and dimmed by an anxious carefulness about present things; how can I be accepted?” Had he regarded the ground of his hope, he would have seen that the promise of God standeth sure, and that whatever our doubts may be, the oath and promise never fail.

Ah! believer, it is safer always for you to be led of the Spirit into gospel liberty than to wear legal fetters. Judge yourself at what Christ is rather than at what you are. Satan will try to mar your peace by reminding you of your sinfulness and imperfections: you can only meet his accusations by faithfully adhering to the gospel and refusing to wear the yoke of bondage.

In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world

“In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15

We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions. Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Saviour, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God’s Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness.

Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world. Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.

Gracious Spirit dwell with me;
I myself would gracious be,
And with words that help and heal
Would thy life in mine reveal,
And with actions bold and meek
Would for Christ my Saviour speak.