VICTORY OVER DEATH

“Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your pain?” 1 CORINTHIANS 15:55

The fire that lit the boiler of the New Testament church was an unquenchable belief that if Jesus had been only a man, he would have stayed in the tomb. The earliest Christians couldn’t stay silent about the fact that the one they saw hung on a cross walked again on the earth and appeared to five hundred people.

Let us ask our Father humbly, yet confidently in the name of Jesus, to remind us of the empty tomb. Let us see the victorious Jesus: the conqueror of the tomb, the one who defied death. And let us be reminded that we, too, will be granted that same victory!

from WALKING WITH THE SAVIOR

Youthfulness Isn’t about Age

Psalm 103:1-5

When Abraham was 99 years old, God promised him that his wife would have a son the following year. The Bible records Sarah’s response to the news: “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’” (Gen. 18:12 niv). Her skeptical laughter indicated that she didn’t expect the Lord to keep His promise.

The following year when the Lord’s promise was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac, Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me” (21:6 niv). This time, her laughter was the joyous kind that comes from seeing the Lord is at work and keeping His word.

Can’t you just picture the difference in her countenance on those two occasions? The first time, Sarah’s face must have looked old, weary, disappointed, and etched with unbelief. But later on, when she beheld her new son, her face must have been transformed—still covered in wrinkles, no doubt, but now with eyes sparkling, cheeks glowing, and mouth curled in a smile. Sarah had become young at heart. Not only
was she transformed, but those nearby must have joined in her
infectious laughter.

What was true of Sarah can be true of us: Burdens feel lighter and the
world seems a gentler place when we see God working in our midst.
And if we watch for Him, we will find reasons to smile. Chronological
age doesn’t determine youthfulness; heart attitude does.

The New, Old Commandment

“Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment. . . . Again, a new commandment I write unto you. . . .” (1 John 2:7-8)

On the surface, this passage appears to be a real problem. The easily seen focus of the “commandment” is love for the brethren (vv. 9-11). The difficult wording lies in the “old” and the “new” side of the same thought.

The “old” sense of the command to love is as eternal as the very nature of God Himself. Whatever love we express in our human nature derives its source from God who IS love (1 John 4:16). Even “from the beginning” (1 John 2:7) humanity was charged with the commitment of marital love (Genesis 2:24), which is the earthly example of God’s love for His church (Ephesians 5:25).

Then as God codified His “rules” for those who would submit to His authority, God insisted that we were to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 9:8). Centuries later as the apostle Paul commented on the Mosiac Law, it was noted that “love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).

The “new” side of the commandment has its “beginning” with the institution of the new covenant (Hebrews 8:13) and the commissioning of the apostolic leadership (John 13:34). The new focus would be on the spiritual kingdom rather than the earthly nation, and the “brethren” would not merely be genetically related but have a spiritual “new birth”(Acts 10:34-35; Galatians 3:28).

Since “the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth” (1 John 2:8), “he that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him” (1 John 2:10). This new command goes beyond marriage and nation to the entire family of God. HMM III

THE question often comes, “Why didn’t He help me sooner?”

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1.)

THE question often comes, “Why didn’t He help me sooner?” It is not His order. He must first adjust you to the trouble and cause you to learn your lesson from it. His promise is, “I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” He must be with you in the trouble first all day and all night. Then He will take you out of it. This will not come till you have stopped being restless and fretful about it and become calm and quiet. Then He will say, “It is enough.”

God uses trouble to teach His children precious lessons. They are intended to educate us. When their good work is done, a glorious recompense will come to us through them. There is a sweet joy and a real value in them. He does not regard them as difficulties but as opportunities.— Selected.

Not always OUT of our troublous times,
And the struggles fierce and grim,
But IN—deeper IN—to our one sure rest,
The place of our peace, in Him.
—Annie Johnson Flint.

We once heard a simple old colored man say something that we have never forgotten: “When God tests you, it is a good time for you to test Him by putting His promises to the proof, and claiming from Him just as much as your trials have rendered necessary.”

There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is to simply try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of Divine grace. Thus even the adversary becomes an auxiliary, and the things that seem to be against us turn out to be for the furtherance of our way. Surely, this is to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us. —A. B. Simpson.

There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet

“There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.” Jeremiah 49:23

Little know we what sorrow may be upon the sea at this moment. We are safe in our quiet chamber, but far away on the salt sea the hurricane may be cruelly seeking for the lives of men. Hear how the death fiends howl among the cordage; how every timber starts as the waves beat like battering rams upon the vessel! God help you, poor drenched and wearied ones! My prayer goes up to the great Lord of sea and land, that He will make the storm a calm, and bring you to your desired haven! Nor ought I to offer prayer alone, I should try to benefit those hardy men who risk their lives so constantly. Have I ever done anything for them? What can I do?

How often does the boisterous sea swallow up the mariner! Thousands of corpses lie where pearls lie deep. There is death-sorrow on the sea, which is echoed in the long wail of widows and orphans. The salt of the sea is in many eyes of mothers and wives. Remorseless billows, ye have devoured the love of women, and the stay of households. What a resurrection shall there be from the caverns of the deep when the sea gives up her dead! Till then there will be sorrow on the sea. As if in sympathy with the woes of earth, the sea is for ever fretting along a thousand shores, wailing with a sorrowful cry like her own birds, booming with a hollow crash of unrest, raving with uproarious discontent, chafing with hoarse wrath, or jangling with the voices of ten thousand murmuring pebbles.

The roar of the sea may be joyous to a rejoicing spirit, but to the son of sorrow the wide, wide ocean is even more forlorn than the wide, wide world. This is not our rest, and the restless billows tell us so. There is a land where there is no more sea—our faces are steadfastly set towards it; we are going to the place of which the Lord hath spoken. Till then, we cast our sorrows on the Lord who trod the sea of old, and who maketh a way for His people through the depths thereof.

Faith is full of inventions

“And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.” Mark 2:4

Faith is full of inventions. The house was full, a crowd blocked up the door, but faith found a way of getting at the Lord and placing the palsied man before Him. If we cannot get sinners where Jesus is by ordinary methods we must use extraordinary ones. It seems, according to Luke 5:19, that a tiling had to be removed, which would make dust and cause a measure of danger to those below, but where the case is very urgent we must not mind running some risks and shocking some proprieties. Jesus was there to heal, and therefore fall what might, faith ventured all so that her poor paralyzed charge might have his sins forgiven. O that we had more daring faith among us! Cannot we, dear reader, seek it this morning for ourselves and for our fellow-workers, and will we not try today to perform some gallant act for the love of souls and the glory of the Lord.

The world is constantly inventing; genius serves all the purposes of human desire: cannot faith invent too, and reach by some new means the outcasts who lie perishing around us? It was the presence of Jesus which excited victorious courage in the four bearers of the palsied man: is not the Lord among us now? Have we seen His face for ourselves this morning? Have we felt His healing power in our own souls? If so, then through door, through window, or through roof, let us, breaking through all impediments, labour to bring poor souls to Jesus. All means are good and decorous when faith and love are truly set on winning souls. If hunger for bread can break through stone walls, surely hunger for souls is not to be hindered in its efforts. O Lord, make us quick to suggest methods of reaching Thy poor sin-sick ones, and bold to carry them out at all hazards.