Dreams Of Childhood

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength. —Psalm 8:2

Years ago, I asked fifth-grade students to prepare a list of questions to ask Jesus if He were to show up in person the following week. I also asked groups of adults to do the same thing. The results were startlingly different. The kids’ questions ranged from adorable to poignant: “Will we have to sit around in robes and sing all day in heaven? Will my puppy be in heaven? Were the whales in or out of the ark? How’s my grandpa doing up there with You?” Almost without fail, their questions were free from doubt that heaven existed or that God acts supernaturally.

Adults, on the other hand, featured a completely different line of questioning: “Why do bad things happen to good people? How do I know You’re listening to my prayers? Why is there only one way to heaven? How could a loving God let this tragedy happen to me?”

For the most part, children live life unfettered by the cares and sorrows that burden adults. Their faith lets them trust God more readily. While we adults often get lost in trials and sorrows, children retain the psalmist’s view of life—an eternal perspective that sees the greatness of God (Ps. 8:1-2). God can be trusted, and He longs for us to trust Him the way children do (Matt. 18:3).by Randy Kilgore

O Father, may I find again the dreams of childhood
when thoughts of You filled me with peace
and I longed to know You more. Give me
a faith that trusts You implicitly.

An intimate walk with God lifts our eyes from today’s trials and into eternity’s triumphs.

Does God Love Me?

Psalm 145:7-9

Life can hit us with unexpected and undesirable circumstances. When that happens, shock and pain can make us wonder, Does God really care about me?

First of all, Scripture tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8), which means His very nature is characterized by compassion and concern. Love originated with the Lord, and He is our greatest example of how to express it. This truth, combined with His holiness, means His love is perfect—He’ll never make a mistake in the way He loves us.

Second, we know God loves us because He calls us His children. “To those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” writes John in his gospel (1:12 niv). Sadly, some people don’t have a mother or father who shows them love. But God is the perfect parent. It would go against His character to treat His children with anything less than unconditional love.

Finally, the Lord gave the supreme demonstration of His love at the cross. We were all dead in our sins, but Christ went to the greatest lengths possible to give us life: He came to earth as an expression of His Father’s infinite love, and in giving His life on our behalf, did what no one else was able to do.

After considering these facts about God’s love, how could we not expect Him to take care of even the smallest details of our life? Look for ways He is expressing His love to you, and remember Jesus’ own words on the subject: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (15:13).

The End

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

As Peter wrote his first epistle, foremost in his mind was a desire to encourage the believers to stand firm in the face of suffering and trial. On four occasions he used the term “the end,” focusing his readers’ attention on the final resolution of all things. A study of these occurrences gives us a glimpse of the tenor of the entire book.

The first use followed an explanation of the nature and benefits of the various trials in a believer’s life. The result would be a pure, effective faith now, as well as “receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1:9), the final ultimate deliverance of our whole person.

Meanwhile, “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:13). Our minds should be completely (“to the end”) ready for action, sober and expectant, focused on the ultimate resolution of all trials.

This ultimate resolution could come at any time: “The end of all things is at hand” (4:7). Our responses should be to “be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” To be sober is to be of sound judgment, making careful decisions, not based on emotion; especially watchful as we pray, with eternity in mind.

Our text gives us the last occurrence of “the end.” The time of final judgment on both Christian and non-Christian looms nearer and nearer. But God’s cleansing of His people has already begun, and it at times is not pleasant, although beneficial. His judgment on those outside “the house of God” will be much more severe, with no opportunity for reconciliation. This warning should motivate us in our ministry to the unsaved. JDM

By reason of breakings they purify themselves

“By reason of breakings they purify themselves.” (Job 41:25.)

GOD uses most for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. The sacrifices He accepts are broken and contrite hearts. It was the breaking down of Jacob’s natural strength at Peniel that got him where God could clothe him with spiritual power. It was breaking the surface of the rock at Horeb, by the stroke of Moses’ rod, that let out the cool waters to thirsty people.

It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers, a type of breaking themselves, that the hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries. It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil, and poured it forth, that God multiplied it to pay her debts and supply means of support.

It was when Esther risked her life and broke through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, that she obtained favor to rescue her people from death. It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them, that the bread was multiplied in the very act of breaking, sufficient to feed five thousand. It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box, rendering it henceforth useless, that the pent-up perfume filled the house. It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken to pieces by thorns and nails and spear, that His inner life was poured out, like a crystal ocean, for thirsty sinners to drink and live.

It is when a beautiful grain of corn is broken up in the earth by DEATH, that its inner heart sprouts forth and bears hundreds of other grains. And thus, on and on, through all history, and all biography, and all vegetation, and all spiritual life, God must have BROKEN THINGS.

Those who are broken in wealth, and broken in self-will, and broken in their ambitions, and broken in their beautiful ideals, and broken in worldly reputation, and broken in their affections, and broken ofttimes in health; those who are despised and seem utterly forlorn and helpless, the Holy Ghost is seizing upon, and using for God’s glory. “The lame take the prey,” Isaiah tells us.

O break my heart; but break it as a field
Is by the plough up-broken for the corn;
O break it as the buds, by green leaf sealed,
Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn;
Love would I offer unto Love’s great Master,
Set free the odor, break the alabaster.

O break my heart; break it victorious God,
That life’s eternal well may flash abroad;
O let it break as when the captive trees,
Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties;
And as thought’s sacred grove to life is springing,
Be joys, like birds, their hope, Thy victory singing.
—Thomas Toke Bunch.

Every firstborn creature must be the Lord’s

“But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck.” Exodus 34:20

Every firstborn creature must be the Lord’s, but since the ass was unclean, it could not be presented in sacrifice. What then? Should it be allowed to go free from the universal law? By no means. God admits of no exceptions. The ass is His due, but He will not accept it; He will not abate the claim, but yet He cannot be pleased with the victim. No way of escape remained but redemption—the creature must be saved by the substitution of a lamb in its place; or if not redeemed, it must die. My soul, here is a lesson for thee.

That unclean animal is thyself; thou art justly the property of the Lord who made thee and preserves thee, but thou art so sinful that God will not, cannot, accept thee; and it has come to this, the Lamb of God must stand in thy stead, or thou must die eternally. Let all the world know of thy gratitude to that spotless Lamb who has already bled for thee, and so redeemed thee from the fatal curse of the law. Must it not sometimes have been a question with the Israelite which should die, the ass or the lamb? Would not the good man pause to estimate and compare? Assuredly there was no comparison between the value of the soul of man and the life of the Lord Jesus, and yet the Lamb dies, and man the ass is spared.

My soul, admire the boundless love of God to thee and others of the human race. Worms are bought with the blood of the Son of the Highest! Dust and ashes redeemed with a price far above silver and gold! What a doom had been mine had not plenteous redemption been found! The breaking of the neck of the ass was but a momentary penalty, but who shall measure the wrath to come to which no limit can be imagined? Inestimably dear is the glorious Lamb who has redeemed us from such a doom.

But who may abide the day of his coming?

“But who may abide the day of his coming?” Malachi 3:2

His first coming was without external pomp or show of power, and yet in truth there were few who could abide its testing might. Herod and all Jerusalem with him were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be waiting for Him, showed the fallacy of their professions by rejecting Him when He came. His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process. But what will His second advent be? What sinner can endure to think of it? “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.”

When in His humiliation He did but say to the soldiers, “I am He,” they fell backward; what will be the terror of His enemies when He shall more fully reveal Himself as the “I am?” His death shook earth and darkened heaven, what shall be the dreadful splendour of that day in which as the living Saviour, He shall summon the quick and dead before Him? O that the terrors of the Lord would persuade men to forsake their sins and kiss the Son lest He be angry! Though a lamb, He is yet the lion of the tribe of Judah, rending the prey in pieces; and though He breaks not the bruised reed, yet will He break His enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

None of His foes shall bear up before the tempest of His wrath, or hide themselves from the sweeping hail of His indignation; but His beloved bloodwashed people look for His appearing with joy, and hope to abide it without fear: to them He sits as a refiner even now, and when He has tried them they shall come forth as gold. Let us search ourselves this morning and make our calling and election sure, so that the coming of the Lord may cause no dark forebodings in our mind. O for grace to cast away all hypocrisy, and to be found of Him sincere and without rebuke in the day of His appearing.