VIDEO Silent monks “sing” the Hallelujah Chorus

Nov 3, 2013

It’s a skit of course, but a clever one — a bunch of high schoolers who pondered just how a bunch of monks who’d taken a vow of silence might put on a Christmas concert.

http://bryanpattersonfaithworks.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/silent-monks-sing-the-hallelujah-chorus/

Leap The Wall

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. —Proverbs 25:21

Sgt. Richard Kirkland was a Confederate soldier in the US Civil War (1861–1865). When the Union’s failed charge at Marye’s Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg left wounded soldiers abandoned in no-man’s land, Kirkland got permission to help them. Collecting canteens, he leaped the stone wall and bent over the first soldier to lend assistance. At great personal risk, the “Angel of Marye’s Heights” extended the mercy of Christ to enemy soldiers.

While few of us will face an enemy on the battlefield, those who suffer can be found all around us—people struggling against loneliness, loss, health issues, and sin. Their cries, muted by our many distractions, plead for mercy and comfort, for hope and help.

Kirkland’s example of Christlike compassion put action to Jesus’ command to “love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44). Paul expanded on that theme when he quotes Proverbs 25:21, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink” (Rom. 12:20). “Do not be overcome by evil,” he instructed us, “but overcome evil with good” (v.21).

Paul’s challenge compels us to emulate Sgt. Kirkland. Today is the day for us to “leap the wall” of safety to lend comfort from God to those in need. by Randy Kilgore

Father, give me the courage to reach out to those
I may not want to reach. Show Your love
through me in ways that will bring glory to You
and true peace in my corner of the world.

Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not. —Samuel Johnson

God Reveals His Presence

Psalm 42:1-5

How does the Lord make His presence known in the lives of His children? Although this question does not have a simple “one size fits all” answer, there are several general ways in which God chooses to reveal Himself.

For example, He may wake you from a deep sleep in the middle of the night. Many times I have sat straight up in bed, knowing for certain that Jesus was right there with me, giving me answers to some serious questions from the day. Did I see Him or hear a voice? No. But did I know He was there? Absolutely.

God also makes His presence known by giving instantaneous guidance. Each step of the way, decision after decision, He leads us where He wants us to go.

And quite often the Lord will show Himself by giving such a clear word that you know beyond any doubt that it was from Him. How many times have you been reading a Scripture passage when suddenly a light seemed to flip on in your mind? God’s Holy Spirit can bring sudden understanding of a new truth, or clearly reveal the solution to a hard decision.

Another way that God reveals Himself is through life’s tragedies. Can you think of a time when you were so sorrowful that you couldn’t even move—but then somehow found the strength and courage to go on, despite the pain? You may even have marveled at discovering your strength and wondered where it came from. It was from the One who is always within, always empowering. All we have to do is say, “Lord, I need You at this moment.” And He is there—always.

Sanctified, Preserved, Called

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” (Jude 1:1)

Although the Scriptures have much to teach about each of these precious terms, Jude is the only New Testament writer to use them together in sequence. This is also the only passage that identifies specific roles for the Persons of the Trinity in the lives of believers.

God the Father is said to “sanctify” us (separate, consecrate), but He apparently does this through the Holy Spirit based on the Father’s foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2). We are not told all that is involved, but our sanctification does include our “belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13) and the “offering of the body of Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 10:10), who “was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20).

Jesus Christ “preserves” us. The common use of this term in the New Testament is to “guard” or “watch” over something or someone. The believer is most often the subject of this verb—e.g., we are to “guard” our obedience to the instructions of God (1 Timothy 6:14; 1 John 2:3). Jude’s use, however, highlights the special attention that our Lord gives to each of us so that our “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

The sanctification and the preservation comes with the “calling,” the invitation that is issued from God to those who are “the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). It is a “high calling” (Philippians 3:14) and a “holy calling” (2 Timothy 1:9), and once we are “called,” God will “justify” and “glorify” (Romans 8:30). The twice-born of God are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). HMM III

I was among the captives by the river of Chebar

“As I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God… and the hand of the Lord was there upon me.” (Ezek. 1:1, 3.)

THERE is no commentator of the Scriptures half so valuable as a captivity. The old Psalms have quavered for us with a new pathos as we sat by our “Babel’s stream,” and have sounded for us with new joy as we found our captivity turned as the streams in the South.

The man who has seen much affliction will not readily part with his copy of the Word of God. Another book may seem to others to be identical with his own; but it is not the same to him, for over his old and tear-stained Bible he has written, in characters which are visible to no eyes but his own, the record of his experiences, and ever and anon he comes on Bethel pillars or Elim palms, which are to him the memorials of some critical chapter in his history.

If we are to receive benefit from our captivity we must accept the situation and turn it to the best possible account. Fretting over that from which we have been removed or which has been taken away from us, will not make things better, but it will prevent us from improving those which remain. The bond is only tightened by our stretching it to the uttermost.

The impatient horse which will not quietly endure his halter only strangles himself in his stall. The high-mettled animal that is restive in the yoke only galls his shoulders; and every one will understand the difference between the restless starling of which Sterne has written, breaking its wings against the bars of the cage, and crying, “I can’t get out, I can’t get out,” and the docile canary that sits upon its perch and sings as if it would outrival the lark soaring to heaven’s gate.

No calamity can be to us an unmixed evil if we carry it in direct and fervent prayer to God, for even as one in taking shelter from the rain beneath a tree may find on its branches fruit which he looked not for, so we in fleeing for refuge beneath the shadow of God’s wing, will always find more in God than we had seen or known before.

It is thus through our trials and afflictions that God gives us fresh revelations of Himself; and the Jabbok ford leads to Peniel, where, as the result of our wrestling, we “see God face to face,” and our lives are preserved. Take this to thyself, O captive, and He will give thee “songs in the night,” and turn for thee “the shadow of death into the morning.” —William Taylor.

“Submission to the divine will is the softest pillow on which to recline.”

“It filled the room, and it filled my life,
With a glory of source unseen;
It made me calm in the midst of strife,
And in winter my heart was green.
And the birds of promise sang on the tree
When the storm was breaking on land and sea.”

In Thy light shall we see light

“In Thy light shall we see light.” Psalm 36:9

No lips can tell the love of Christ to the heart till Jesus Himself shall speak within. Descriptions all fall flat and tame unless the Holy Ghost fills them with life and power; till our Immanuel reveals Himself within, the soul sees Him not. If you would see the sun, would you gather together the common means of illumination, and seek in that way to behold the orb of day? No, the wise man knoweth that the sun must reveal itself, and only by its own blaze can that mighty lamp be seen. It is so with Christ. “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona:” said He to Peter, “for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee.”

Purify flesh and blood by any educational process you may select, elevate mental faculties to the highest degree of intellectual power, yet none of these can reveal Christ. The Spirit of God must come with power, and overshadow the man with His wings, and then in that mystic holy of holies the Lord Jesus must display Himself to the sanctified eye, as He doth not unto the purblind sons of men. Christ must be His own mirror. The great mass of this blear-eyed world can see nothing of the ineffable glories of Immanuel. He stands before them without form or comeliness, a root out of a dry ground, rejected by the vain and despised by the proud.

Only where the Spirit has touched the eye with eye-salve, quickened the heart with divine life, and educated the soul to a heavenly taste, only there is He understood. “To you that believe He is precious”; to you He is the chief corner-stone, the Rock of your salvation, your all in all; but to others He is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.” Happy are those to whom our Lord manifests Himself, for His promise to such is that He will make His abode with them. O Jesus, our Lord, our heart is open, come in, and go out no more for ever. Show Thyself to us now! Favour us with a glimpse of Thine all-conquering charms.

For my strength is made perfect in weakness

“For my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory,” defeat is not far distant. God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckoneth on victory thus has reckoned wrongly, for “it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”

They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their gay banners trailed in the dust, and their armour stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casteth away; He will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love.

God will empty out all that thou hast before He will put His own into thee; He will first clean out thy granaries before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength which He Himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

“When I am weak then am I strong,
Grace is my shield and Christ my song.”