Dec 23, 2012
Including Gene Autry, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Tammy Cochran and many more.
Dec 23, 2012
Including Gene Autry, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Tammy Cochran and many more.
All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And my glory is shown through them. JOHN 17:10
God is in the business of changing the face of the world.
Let me be very clear. This change is his job, not ours. Our goal is not to make our faces radiant. Not even Jesus did that. Matthew says, “Jesus’ appearance was changed” not “Jesus changed his appearance.” Moses didn’t even know his face was shining (Exod. 34:29). Our goal is not to conjure up some fake, frozen expression. Our goal is simply to stand before God with a prepared and willing heart and then let God do his work.
And he does. He wipes away the tears. He mops away the perspiration. He softens our furrowed brows. He touches our cheeks. He changes our faces as we worship.
Just Like Jesus
Some people like to say that they are “born procrastinators.” According to Scripture, that is impossible for believers. Procrastination can be a form of bondage in a person’s life, and the Lord, who wants the best for His followers, didn’t design us to be enslaved.
Procrastination has several common causes. The first is an attempt to dodge discomfort. Many people put off taking action because they feel uncomfortable or anxious about the ramifications. In today’s passage, Felix sends Paul away, fearing the apostle’s talk about righteousness, self-control, and judgment.
This can show up in our spiritual life— we sometimes delay Bible reading and meditating because we are afraid God will bring to the surface a matter we need to confront. Then, if such a subject comes up, we often choose to procrastinate about dealing with it. Issues like pride, self-control, or guilt may not be comfortable to face, but dodging them obstructs God’s purpose in our life.
The second cause for putting things off is self-doubt. Those who consider themselves inadequate to complete a task may choose not to begin it. Related to this is another factor: fear of making a mistake or failing in an endeavor can make postponement seem preferable.
Procrastination is no laughing matter, particularly in the spiritual realm since delaying on an assignment from God is the same as disobeying Him. Are you prone to delay? Identify problem areas and the feelings that accompany them. Then confess your tendency, and rely on God’s strength to overcome it.
“He left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)
There is abundant evidence of the mighty power and wisdom of God in the vast cosmos and the tremendously complex world. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
But in addition to such evidence of His wisdom and power, there is also wonderful evidence of the grace of God in nature. Although “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22), laboring under the awful curse on the ground imposed by God when Adam sinned (Genesis 3:17), it has been so subjected “in hope,” with God’s promise of ultimate deliverance from the “bondage of corruption,” and “we are saved by hope” (Romans 8:20-21, 24).
This goodness of God is evidenced in the daily victory of light over darkness, the annual return of spring after winter, and the oft-repeated triumph of life over death. Although individuals die, new souls are born; and always, there is hope. Man must eat his bread in the sweat of his face as he labors to wrest a living from the cursed ground, but God does send the rain and the fruitful seasons, and the food is grown. Though he must eat of it in sorrow all the days of his life, somehow God nevertheless fills his heart with food and gladness. And all of the labor and sweat and sorrow is “for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17), urging man to return to God for both his daily bread and his eternal salvation. How foolish is the man who receives all these gifts of God’s grace without acknowledging their source. “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness . . . not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). HMM
“Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest prayer) was made for him.” (Acts 12:5, margin.)
PETER was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.
There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron gate, it will open of its own accord. How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room! Insurmountable difficulties will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22, margin). Souls in, prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; loved ones out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely believe God.—C. H. P.
Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer—the man himself. No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man’s whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn’t withstand such praying. There’s more of this embodied praying needed.—The Bent-knee Time.
“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.”—C. H. Spurgeon.
“Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?” 2 Samuel 2:26
If, O my reader! thou art merely a professor, and not a possessor of the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the following lines are a true ketch of thine end.
You are a respectable attendant at a place of worship; you go because others go, not because your heart is right with God. This is your beginning. I will suppose that for the next twenty or thirty years you will be spared to go on as you do now, professing religion by an outward attendance upon the means of grace, but having no heart in the matter. Tread softly, for I must show you the deathbed of such a one as yourself. Let us gaze upon him gently. A clammy sweat is on his brow, and he wakes up crying, “O God, it is hard to die. Did you send for my minister?” “Yes, he is coming.” The minister comes. “Sir, I fear that I am dying!” “Have you any hope?” “I cannot say that I have. I fear to stand before my God; oh! pray for me.”
The prayer is offered for him with sincere earnestness, and the way of salvation is for the ten-thousandth time put before him, but before he has grasped the rope, I see him sink. I may put my finger upon those cold eyelids, for they will never see anything here again. But where is the man, and where are the man’s true eyes? It is written, “In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment.” Ah! why did he not lift up his eyes before? Because he was so accustomed to hear the gospel that his soul slept under it. Alas! if you should lift up your eyes there, how bitter will be your wailings. Let the Saviour’s own words reveal the woe: “Father Abraham, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” There is a frightful meaning in those words. May you never have to spell it out by the red light of Jehovah’s wrath!
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” Ecclesiastes 7:8
Look at David’s Lord and Master; see His beginning. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Would you see the end? He sits at His Father’s right hand, expecting until His enemies be made his footstool. “As He is, so are we also in this world.” You must bear the cross, or you shall never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire, or you shall never walk the golden pavement. Cheer up, then, poor Christian. “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof.
That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is. Be content to be like Him, a worm and no man, that like Him you may be satisfied when you wake up in His likeness. That rough-looking diamond is put upon the wheel of the lapidary. He cuts it on all sides. It loses much—much that seemed costly to itself. The king is crowned; the diadem is put upon the monarch’s head with trumpet’s joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that coronet, and it beams from that very diamond which was just now so sorely vexed by the lapidary.
You may venture to compare yourself to such a diamond, for you are one of God’s people; and this is the time of the cutting process. Let faith and patience have their perfect work, for in the day when the crown shall be set upon the head of the King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, one ray of glory shall stream from you. “They shall be Mine,” saith the Lord, “in the day when I make up My jewels.” “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.”