VIDEO The Old Country Church

Nov 8, 2012

Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing The Old Country Church (featuring James Blackwood, Jack Toney, Squire Parsons, Ben Speer, George Younce, Ernie Haase and Glen Payne) [Live].

(P) (C) 2012 Spring House Music Group. All rights reserved. Manufactured by EMI Christian Music Group

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Genuine Concern

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. —Philippians 2:4

On the first night at family camp, the camp director informed the families of the schedule for the week. When finished, he asked if anyone else had anything to say. A young girl stood up and made a passionate appeal for help. She shared about her little brother—a boy with special needs—and how he could be a challenge to care for. She talked about how tiring this was for her family, and she asked everyone there to help them keep an eye on him during the week. It was an appeal born out of genuine concern for her brother and her parents. As the week went on, it was great to see people pitching in to help this family.

Her appeal was a gentle reminder of how easily we can all get wrapped up in our own world, life, and problems—to the point that we fail to see the needs of others. Here’s how Paul described our responsibility: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4). The next verse reminds us that this is part of the example of Christ: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

Our caring displays a Christlike concern for people who are hurting. May we rest in God’s grace, trusting Him to enable us to serve others in their seasons of need. by Bill Crowder

Lord, open my eyes to the hurts, needs, and struggles
of a world that is so desperately in need of Your love.
Help me to be Your instrument to inject
that love into hurting lives.

Nothing costs as much as caring—except not caring.

The Character of Gossip

James 3:5-8

Gossip isn’t a popular subject, but it certainly is a popular activity. Many people spend a great deal of time participating in idle talk about someone else, usually with the intention of injuring the individual in some way. Unfortunately, believers are oftentimes just as guilty of gossiping as unbelievers. But our Father wants us to see the practice for what it truly is.

The Bible includes gossip in a couple of odious categories. Paul lists it amidst interrelated sins like deceit, malice, slander, and arrogance (Rom. 1:29-30). Gossip is deceptive and defamatory, and it is accompanied by both cruelty and pride. These are all characteristics of “haters of God,” according to the apostle. In another passage describing ungodly practices, Paul places gossip in the middle. And of course, everyone recognizes the Ten Commandments, whose last decree is, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16).

Gossip does not fit who we are as God’s children. Just as you can’t have poison and pure water pouring from the same stream, you cannot have both God-honoring talk and gossip coming from a believer. When evil words pass our lips, they are indicative of what we harbor in our heart. However, God is in the heart-cleaning business. If we falter—allowing gossip and its cohorts, malice and deceit, into our lives—we should pray as David did: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).

The Lord Our Shield

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” (Psalm 3:3)

The beautiful metaphor of God as our shield, and our protector from evil, is used over 15 times in the book of Psalms, the first being in our text above. The very first time it is used in the Bible, however, is also the first time the word “shield” itself is used. That was the time when God assured Abram, after his battle with the armies of the northern kings: “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield” (Genesis 15:1). This was a great comfort to Abram, there in the land of the Canaanites, where evil and enemies surrounded him on all sides.

But consider also a few of the many “shield” promises in the book of Psalms. One of the most beautiful and most uplifting is Psalm 84:11: “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

And consider also this wonderful promise: “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler [same word] to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30). In the same psalm appears this great testimony: “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great” (Psalm 18:35).

Three times in Psalm 115 appears the injunction to “trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield” (Psalm 115:9-11). Similarly, “thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word” (Psalm 119:114).

The final reference in Psalms to the Lord as our shield is “Blessed be the LORD my strength. . . . My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me” (Psalm 144:1-2). HMM

Blessed is he that waiteth

“Blessed is he that waiteth.” (Dan. 12:2.)

IT may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still.

There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption?

No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid.

Wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him. Believe that if He keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet He will come at the right time; the vision shall come, and shall not tarry.

Wait in quiet patience. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses. Accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any selfwill, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities; but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon Thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for Thee in full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”—Morning by Morning.

Wait, patiently wait,
God never is late;
Thy budding plans are in Thy Father’s holding,
And only wait His grand divine unfolding.
Then wait, wait,
Patiently wait.

Trust, hopefully trust,
That God will adjust
Thy tangled life; and from its dark concealings,
Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings.
Then trust, trust,
Hopefully trust.

Rest, peacefully rest
On thy Saviour’s breast;
Breathe in His ear thy sacred high ambition,
And He will bring it forth in blest fruition.
Then rest, rest,
Peacefully rest!
—Mercy A. Gladwin.

The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks

“The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” Proverbs 30:26

Conscious of their own natural defenselessness, the conies resort to burrows in the rocks, and are secure from their enemies. My heart, be willing to gather a lesson from these feeble folk. Thou art as weak and as exposed to peril as the timid cony, be as wise to seek a shelter. My best security is within the munitions of an immutable Jehovah, where His unalterable promises stand like giant walls of rock. It will be well with thee, my heart, if thou canst always hide thyself in the bulwarks of His glorious attributes, all of which are guarantees of safety for those who put their trust in Him.

Blessed be the name of the Lord, I have so done, and have found myself like David in Adullam, safe from the cruelty of my enemy; I have not now to find out the blessedness of the man who puts his trust in the Lord, for long ago, when Satan and my sins pursued me, I fled to the cleft of the rock Christ Jesus, and in His riven side I found a delightful resting-place. My heart, run to Him anew to-night, whatever thy present grief may be; Jesus feels for thee; Jesus consoles thee; Jesus will help thee. No monarch in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the cony in his rocky burrow.

The master of ten thousand chariots is not one whit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain’s cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong, and the defenceless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants, or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. More they cannot need, and need not wish. The conies cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already: I cannot make myself a refuge, but Jesus has provided it, His Father has given it, His Spirit has revealed it, and lo, again to-night I enter it, and am safe from every foe.

O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul

“O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul.” Lamentations 3:58

Observe how positively the prophet speaks. He doth not say, “I hope, I trust, I sometimes think, that God hath pleaded the causes of my soul”; but he speaks of it as a matter of fact not to be disputed. “Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul.” Let us, by the aid of the gracious Comforter, shake off those doubts and fears which so much mar our peace and comfort. Be this our prayer, that we may have done with the harsh croaking voice of surmise and suspicion, and may be able to speak with the clear, melodious voice of full assurance.

Notice how gratefully the prophet speaks, ascribing all the glory to God alone! You perceive there is not a word concerning himself or his own pleadings. He doth not ascribe his deliverance in any measure to any man, much less to his own merit; but it is “thou”—”O Lord, Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; Thou hast redeemed my life.” A grateful spirit should ever be cultivated by the Christian; and especially after deliverances we should prepare a song for our God. Earth should be a temple filled with the songs of grateful saints, and every day should be a censor smoking with the sweet incense of thanksgiving.

How joyful Jeremiah seems to be while he records the Lord’s mercy. How triumphantly he lifts up the strain! He has been in the low dungeon, and is even now no other than the weeping prophet; and yet in the very book which is called “Lamentations,” clear as the song of Miriam when she dashed her fingers against the tabor, shrill as the note of Deborah when she met Barak with shouts of victory, we hear the voice of Jeremy going up to heaven— “Thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.” O children of God, seek after a vital experience of the Lord’s lovingkindness, and when you have it, speak positively of it; sing gratefully; shout triumphantly.