FORGIVENESS FOLLOWS FAILURE

In the past God spoke … many times and in many different ways. But now … God has spoken to us through his Son. HEBREWS 1:1–2

God, motivated by love and directed by divinity, surprised everyone. He became a man. In an untouchable mystery, he disguised himself as a carpenter and lived in a dusty Judaean village. Determined to prove his love for his creation, he walked incognito through his own world. His callused hands touched wounds and his compassionate words touched hearts …

But as beautiful as this act of incarnation was, it was not the zenith. Like a master painter God reserved his masterpiece until the end. All the earlier acts of love had been leading to this one. The angels hushed and the heavens paused to witness the finale. God unveils the canvas and the ultimate act of creative compassion is revealed.

God on a cross. The Creator being sacrificed for the creation. God convincing man once and for all that forgiveness still follows failure.

from NO WONDER THEY CALL HIM THE SAVIOR

Making a Lasting Impact

Matthew 5:13

All of us would like to be remembered as individuals who left a good and lasting imprint on the lives of others. The problem is that we tend to be so self-centered that few of us deeply impact even our closest neighbors.

How well we succeed in touching the lives of others is usually determined by our character. And ultimately, it is our spiritual impact that our heavenly Father is concerned about.

To illustrate the influence we should have on others, Jesus used the example of salt, a familiar household item that alters whatever it touches. The Lord taught that salt must maintain its purity and integrity in order to have lasting impact. In a similar way, we must guard our purity by walking in newness of life instead of loving the things of this world (1 John 2:15). Then, when people witness our transformed lives, they will be powerfully influenced.

Salt flavors and preserves food. When we sprinkle it on something flavorless, the food becomes much more enjoyable. We’re to flavor the lives of people around us by using our actions and words to point them to Jesus. If we are just like them, we’re not going to have any impact. Salt doesn’t change itself. It enhances only that which is bland or void of any real taste.

Never forget that you have an influence on others—either for good or for bad. Salt makes a positive difference on whatever comes in contact with it. Because we are followers of Christ, it is our job to flavor the world around us so it will be impacted in positive and God-honoring ways.

Lord of Hosts

“And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.” (1 Samuel 1:3)

This majestic name of God, “LORD of hosts” (Hebrew Jehovah Sabaoth), occurs almost 240 times in the Bible, first of all in our text above. It is noteworthy that Elkanah, the father of Samuel, understood this name of God better than did the wicked priests, the two sons of Eli. The name occurs only once in the New Testament, speaking of oppressed laborers crying to “the Lord of sabaoth” (James 5:4).

A similar name, “God of hosts,” occurs nine times, the first in Psalm 80:7: “Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” The combined name “LORD God of hosts” is used about 25 times, first in 2 Samuel 5:10: “And David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.”

In all these 270 or so references, the name is used to emphasize the mighty power of God and His great host of angels “that excel in strength, that do his commandments” (Psalm 103:20). Not only is God Himself omnipotent and omniscient (after all, He is the Creator of all things!), but He has “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) at His call. Occasionally, some of these mighty hosts have actually been seen by men, as in the days of Elisha (2 Kings 6:17) and at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:13).

There is evidently an angelic hierarchy among these heavenly hosts. There are the cherubim and seraphim (Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:2), for example, as well as “Michael the archangel” (Jude 1:9) and “Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God” (Luke 1:19). However, the great “captain of the host of the LORD” (Joshua 5:14) is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and He alone, is the true “LORD of hosts.” HMM

Is there anything too hard for Jehovah?

“Is there anything too hard for Jehovah?” (Gen. 18:14.)

HERE is God’s loving challenge to you and to me today. He wants us to think of the deepest, highest, worthiest desire and longing of our hearts, something which perhaps was our desire for ourselves or for someone dear to us, yet which has been so long unfulfilled that we have looked upon it as only a lost desire, that which might have been but now cannot be, and so have given up hope of seeing it fulfilled in this life.

That thing, if it is in line with what we know to be His expressed will (as a son to Abraham and Sarah was), God intends to do for us, even if we know that it is of such utter impossibility that we only laugh at the absurdity of anyone’s supposing it could ever now come to pass. That thing God intends to do for us, if we will let Him.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Not when we believe in Him enough to go forward and do His will, and let Him do the impossible for us. Even Abraham and Sarah could have blocked God’s plan if they had continued to disbelieve.

The only thing too hard for Jehovah is deliberate, continued disbelief in His love and power, and our final rejection of His plans for us. Nothing is too hard for Jehovah to do for them that trust Him,—Messages for the Morning Watch.

Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name

“Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4

Our Lord would have all His people rich in high and happy thoughts concerning His blessed person.Jesus is not content that His brethren should think meanly of Him; it is His pleasure that His espoused ones should be delighted with His beauty. We are not to regard Him as a bare necessary, like to bread and water, but as a luxurious delicacy, as a rare and ravishing delight. To this end He has revealed Himself as the “pearl of great price” in its peerless beauty, as the “bundle of myrrh” in its refreshing fragrance, as the “rose of Sharon” in its lasting perfume, as the “lily” in its spotless purity.

As a help to high thoughts of Christ, remember the estimation that Christ is had in beyond the skies, where things are measured by the right standard. Think how God esteems the Only Begotten, His unspeakable gift to us. Consider what the angels think of Him, as they count it their highest honour to veil their faces at His feet. Consider what the blood-washed think of Him, as day without night they sing

His well deserved praises. High thoughts of Christ will enable us to act consistently with our relations towards Him. The more loftily we see Christ enthroned, and the more lowly we are when bowing before the foot of the throne, the more truly shall we be prepared to act our part towards Him. Our Lord Jesus desires us to think well of Him, that we may submit cheerfully to His authority. High thoughts of Him increase our love. Love and esteem go together. Therefore, believer, think much of your Master’s excellencies. Study Him in His primeval glory, before He took upon Himself your nature! Think of the mighty love which drew Him from His throne to die upon the cross! Admire Him as He conquers all the powers of hell! See Him risen, crowned, glorified! Bow before Him as the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, for only thus will your love to Him be what it should.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” Isaiah 54:17

This day is notable in English history for two great deliverances wrought by God for us. On this day the plot of some to destroy our Houses of Parliament was discovered, 1605.

“While for our princes they prepare
In caverns deep a burning snare,
He shot from heaven a piercing ray,
And the dark treachery brought to day.”

And secondly—today is the anniversary of the landing of King William III, at Torbay, by which the hope of a group’s ascendancy was quashed, and religious liberty was secured, 1688.

This day ought to be celebrated, not by the saturnalia of striplings, but by the songs of saints. Our Puritan forefathers most devoutly made it a special time of thanksgiving. There is extant a record of the annual sermons preached by Matthew Henry on this day. Our Protestant feeling, and our love of liberty, should make us regard its anniversary with holy gratitude. Let our hearts and lips exclaim, “We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us the wondrous things which Thou didst in their day, and in the old time before them.” Thou hast made this nation the home of the gospel; and when the foe has risen against her, Thou hast shielded her. Help us to offer repeated songs for repeated deliverances.

Grant us more and more a hatred of Antichrist, and hasten on the day of her entire extinction. Till then and ever, we believe the promise, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” Should it not be laid upon the heart of every lover of the gospel of Jesus on this day to plead for the overturning of false doctrines and the extension of divine truth? Would it not be well to search our own hearts, and turn out any lumber of self-righteousness which may lie concealed therein?