Jun 19, 2009
Song by Brian Doerkson
Jun 19, 2009
Song by Brian Doerkson
If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. MARK 8:34
On one side stands the crowd.
Jeering. Baiting. Demanding.
On the other stands a peasant.
Swollen lips. Lumpy eye. Lofty promise.
One promises acceptance, the other a cross.
One offers flesh and flash, the other offers faith.
The crowd challenges, “Follow us and fit in.”
Jesus promises, “Follow me and stand out.”
They promise to please. God promises to save.
God looks at you and asks, “Which will be your choice?”
A Gentle Thunder
The Bible is a book of promises, each of which is guaranteed by the Lord’s unchanging nature (2 Cor. 1:20). One precious assurance is that those who trust Jesus as Savior will never be alone. Our Father has promised to send His Holy Spirit to take up residence within each believer. Scripture teaches that the Spirit is a member of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son.
The triune nature of God is clear in a number of Bible passages. Genesis 1:1-2, for instance, identifies both the Father and the Spirit as active participants in creation. The New Testament later reveals that Jesus Christ was likewise present when the world was being made (Col. 1:16).
We find another example in John’s gospel. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that He was going away but would ask the Father to send “another Comforter” (14:16). The resurrected Christ later commissioned His followers to make disciples and baptize them in the name of all three members of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19).
On the basis of biblical truth, we can know for sure that the Spirit is fully God, just like the Father and the Son. Scripture teaches that we can intimately know the Father and Jesus, and the same holds true for the third person of the Trinity. Because of the Spirit’s importance, Jesus spent much time talking about Him with the disciples.
Do you know the Holy Spirit as well as you do the Father and Son? If not, spend time studying Scripture to gain understanding of His place in your life.
“. . . when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7)
The phrase “shouted for joy” in this verse is actually a single word (ruwa) in the Hebrew, and it can carry a number of meanings. It is most frequently translated simply “shout,” as when the army of Joshua surrounding Jericho shouted and the walls fell down (Joshua 6:20). In Psalm 100:1, it is translated “make a joyful noise.” It can refer to a shout of alarm or shout of triumph, as well as a shout of joy, but it always refers to a loud shout. In fact, it comes from a root meaning “to split”—a noise that would split eardrums or shatter glass.
In the context of Job 38, the Lord is reminding Job and his friends of the great primeval event of creation. When the earth—which is destined eventually to house God’s throne in the eternal ages to come—was established on solid foundations (on the third day of creation), a resounding noise like mighty thunder—or, better, a gigantic angelic anthem—echoed throughout the universe. An “innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), identified in the poetic structure of the Hebrew parallelism in our text as both “morning stars” and “sons of God,” shouted exultantly and sang in unison when the solid earth appeared.
The angels probably were created on the first day of the creation week, immediately after the creation of the universe itself. Even though Satan and other angels later rebelled against God, most of the angels still obey Him, and one day we ourselves will actually hear them singing His praises and shouting for joy when He returns to Earth (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 4:9-11; 5:11-14; Psalm 148:1-6).
Therefore, “praise ye him all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts” (Psalm 148:2). Someday, we shall join them in a “joyful noise” at God’s throne. HMM
“Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” (Luke 7:23.)
IT is sometimes very difficult not to be offended in Jesus Christ. The offenses may be circumstantial. I find myself in a prison-house—a narrow sphere, a sick chamber, an unpopular position—when I had hoped for wide opportunities. Yes, but He knows what is best for me. My environment is of His determining. He means it to intensify my faith, to draw me into nearer communion with Himself, to ripen my power. In the dungeon my soul should prosper.
The offense may be mental. I am haunted by perplexities, questions, which I cannot solve. I had hoped that, when I gave myself to Him, my sky would always be clear; but often it is overspread by mist and cloud. Yet let me believe that, if difficulties remain, it is that I may learn to trust Him all the more implicitly—to trust and not be afraid. Yes, and by my intellectual conflicts, I am trained to be a tutor to other storm-driven men.
The offense may be spiritual. I had fancied that within His fold I should never feel the biting winds of temptation; but it is best as it is. His grace is magnified. My own character is matured. His Heaven is sweeter at the close of the day. There I shall look back on the turnings and trials of the way, and shall sing the praises of my Guide. So, let come what will come, His will is welcome; and I shall refuse to be offended in my loving Lord.—Alexander Smellie.
Blessed is he whose faith is not offended,
When all around his way
The power of God is working out deliverance
For others day by day;
Though in some prison drear his own soul languish,
Till life itself be spent,
Yet still can trust his Father’s love and purpose,
And rest therein content.
Blessed is he, who through long years of suffering,
Cut off from active toil,
Still shares by prayer and praise the work of others,
And thus “divides the spoil.”
Blessed are thou, O child of God, who sufferest,
And canst not understand
The reason for thy pain, yet gladly leavest
Thy life in His blest Hand.
Yea, blessed art thou whose faith is “not offended”
By trials unexplained,
By mysteries unsolved, past understanding,
Until the goal is gained.
—Freda Hanbury Allen.
“Thou art from everlasting.” Psalm 93:2
Christ is EVERLASTING. Of Him we may sing with David, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” Rejoice, believer, in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever. Jesus always was. The Babe born in Bethlehem was united to the Word, which was in the beginning, by whom all things were made. The title by which Christ revealed Himself to John in Patmos was, “Him which is, and which was, and which is to come.” If He were not God from everlasting, we could not so devoutly love Him; we could not feel that He had any share in the eternal love which is the fountain of all covenant blessings; but since He was from all eternity with the Father, we trace the stream of divine love to Himself equally with His Father and the blessed Spirit.
As our Lord always was, so also He is for evermore. Jesus is not dead; “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” Resort to Him in all your times of need, for He is waiting to bless you still. Moreover, Jesus our Lord ever shall be. If God should spare your life to fulfil your full day of threescore years and ten, you will find that His cleansing fountain is still opened, and His precious blood has not lost its power; you shall find that the Priest who filled the healing fount with His own blood, lives to purge you from all iniquity.
When only your last battle remains to be fought, you shall find that the hand of your conquering Captain has not grown feeble—the living Saviour shall cheer the dying saint. When you enter heaven you shall find Him there bearing the dew of His youth; and through eternity the Lord Jesus shall still remain the perennial spring of joy, and life, and glory to His people. Living waters may you draw from this sacred well! Jesus always was, He always is, He always shall be. He is eternal in all His attributes, in all His offices, in all His might, and willingness to bless, comfort, guard, and crown His chosen people.
“A spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” Song 4:12
In this metaphor, which has reference to the inner life of a believer, we have very plainly the idea of secrecy. It is a spring shut up: just as there were springs in the East, over which an edifice was built, so that none could reach them save those who knew the secret entrance; so is the heart of a believer when it is renewed by grace: there is a mysterious life within which no human skill can touch. It is a secret which no other man knoweth; nay, which the very man who is the possessor of it cannot tell to his neighbour.
The text includes not only secrecy, but separation. It is not the common spring, of which every passer-by may drink, it is one kept and preserved from all others; it is a fountain bearing a particular mark—a king’s royal seal, so that all can perceive that it is not a common fountain, but a fountain owned by a proprietor, and placed specially by itself alone. So is it with the spiritual life. The chosen of God were separated in the eternal decree; they were separated by God in the day of redemption; and they are separated by the possession of a life which others have not; and it is impossible for them to feel at home with the world, or to delight in its pleasures. There is also the idea of sacredness.
The spring shut up is preserved for the use of some special person: and such is the Christian’s heart. It is a spring kept for Jesus. Every Christian should feel that he has God’s seal upon him—and he should be able to say with Paul, “From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Another idea is prominent—it is that of security. Oh! how sure and safe is the inner life of the believer! If all the powers of earth and hell could combine against it, that immortal principle must still exist, for He who gave it pledged His life for its preservation. And who “is He that shall harm you,” when God is your protector?