Mar 13, 2011
In 2009, Andrea Bocelli and David Foster collaborated to produce a Christmas album with a number of other music legends. This is “Angels We Have Heard on High” with choir and orchestra.
This YouTube version was ripped and uploaded directly from the raw DVD VOB files, which means quality should be higher than other YouTube versions.
I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34
Never be sympathetic with a person whose situation causes you to conclude that God is dealing harshly with him. God can be more tender than we can conceive, and every once in a while He gives us the opportunity to deal firmly with someone so that He may be viewed as the tender One. If a person cannot go to God, it is because he has something secret which he does not intend to give up— he may admit his sin, but would no more give up that thing than he could fly under his own power. It is impossible to deal sympathetically with people like that. We must reach down deep in their lives to the root of the problem, which will cause hostility and resentment toward the message. People want the blessing of God, but they can’t stand something that pierces right through to the heart of the matter.
If you are sensitive to God’s way, your message as His servant will be merciless and insistent, cutting to the very root. Otherwise, there will be no healing. We must drive the message home so forcefully that a person cannot possibly hide, but must apply its truth. Deal with people where they are, until they begin to realize their true need. Then hold high the standard of Jesus for their lives. Their response may be, “We can never be that.” Then drive it home with, “Jesus Christ says you must.” “But how can we be?” “You can’t, unless you have a new Spirit” (see Luke 11:13).
There must be a sense of need created before your message is of any use. Thousands of people in this world profess to be happy without God. But if we could be truly happy and moral without Jesus, then why did He come? He came because that kind of happiness and peace is only superficial. Jesus Christ came to “bring . . . a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.
By Oswald Chambers
Scripture teaches that when one is born from above by the Spirit, that person becomes a child in God’s family. Such wording expresses the nature of our relationship with God: He interacts with us as a father does, and we should respond like loving, obedient children. God took the first step in the relationship by opening His family to us. Man’s initial response involves saying yes to Jesus and trusting Him as personal Savior. But even after accepting that invitation, we’re still responsible to respond in a way that keeps our fellowship with Him strong.
Our part consists largely in noticing when the Father is speaking so we can learn to become good listeners and obedient followers. That is why we need to spend time in the Bible, where the Father speaks clearly. Many pretend to be interested in hearing from God and yet invent excuses for neglecting His Word. Some say, “I read Scripture but don’t understand it.” Do you think God would write us an important message in a way we wouldn’t be able to understand? If you keep reading the Bible, the Spirit of God, who inhabits the believer’s heart, will give you understanding.
Once we are born into God’s family, nothing—not even sin—can destroy our relationship with the Father. However, disobedience can interrupt our fellowship with Him by breaking communication, in which case restoring broken fellowship is essential to spiritual growth (1 John 1:9).
Do you belong to God’s family? If so, are you obeying your Father? Obedience is crucial to a deepening relationship with our loving Creator.
“And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.” (2 Kings 19:15)
Good King Hezekiah was in what seemed a hopeless situation. The mighty armies of the Assyrian empire had been sweeping through the surrounding countries in an orgy of destruction and plunder, and now were at the gates of Jerusalem, demanding its surrender. Grossly outnumbered, the choice seemed either to capitulate or die!
But there was one other choice—Hezekiah could pray! The blasphemous Rabshakeh gloated that none of the gods of the other nations had been able to save them from the Assyrians . . . but that was beside the point. These other gods were mere personifications of natural processes, possibly energized by evil spirits, but all of these had been created in the first place by Hezekiah’s God. “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5). And that was true of Assyria’s gods as well. All ancient pagan religions were evolutionary religions, rejecting the concept of true creation and a true Creator God.
Hezekiah knew the true God who had made heaven and Earth, and he could pray in reliance on His word. God could dispatch and empower just one of His mighty angels in answer to Hezekiah’s believing prayer, and thus destroy the great Assyrian host in a single night! “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: . . . So Sennacherib king of Assyria, departed” (2 Kings 19:35-36).
This God—maker of heaven and Earth—is still on His throne and can still hear and answer the prayers of those who call on His name. HMM
“It shall turn to you for a testimony.” (Luke 21:13.)
LIFE is a steep climb, and it does the heart good to have somebody “call back and cheerily beckon us on up the high hill. We are all climbers together, and we must help one another. This mountain climbing is serious business, but glorious. It takes strength and steady step to find the summits. The outlook widens with the altitude. If anyone among us has found anything worth while, we ought to “call back.”
If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back—
‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith’s light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.
Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest’s roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.
Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.
But if you’ll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you’ll say He saw you through the night’s sin-darkened sky—
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back—
‘Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony truck.
“And there was no more sea.” Revelation 21:1
Scarcely could we rejoice at the thought of losing the glorious old ocean: the new heavens and the new earth are none the fairer to our imagination, if, indeed, literally there is to be no great and wide sea, with its gleaming waves and shelly shores. Is not the text to be read as a metaphor, tinged with the prejudice with which the Oriental mind universally regarded the sea in the olden times? A real physical world without a sea it is mournful to imagine, it would be an iron ring without the sapphire which made it precious. There must be a spiritual meaning here. In the new dispensation there will be no division—the sea separates nations and sunders peoples from each other. To John in Patmos the deep waters were like prison walls, shutting him out from his brethren and his work: there shall be no such barriers in the world to come.
Leagues of rolling billows lie between us and many a kinsman whom to-night we prayerfully remember, but in the bright world to which we go there shall be unbroken fellowship for all the redeemed family. In this sense there shall be no more sea. The sea is the emblem of change; with its ebbs and flows, its glassy smoothness and its mountainous billows, its gentle murmurs and its tumultuous roarings, it is never long the same. Slave of the fickle winds and the changeful moon, its instability is proverbial. In this mortal state we have too much of this; earth is constant only in her inconstancy, but in the heavenly state all mournful change shall be unknown, and with it all fear of storm to wreck our hopes and drown our joys. The sea of glass glows with a glory unbroken by a wave. No tempest howls along the peaceful shores of paradise. Soon shall we reach that happy land where partings, and changes, and storms shall be ended! Jesus will waft us there. Are we in Him or not? This is the grand question.
“The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33
If the disposal of the lot is the Lord’s whose is the arrangement of our whole life? If the a simple casting of a lot is guided by Him, how much more the events of our entire life—especially when we are told by our blessed Saviour: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered: not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father.” It would bring a holy calm over your mind, dear friend, if you were always to remember this. It would so relieve your mind from anxiety, that you would be the better able to walk in patience, quiet, and cheerfulness as a Christian should. When a man is anxious he cannot pray with faith; when he is troubled about the world, he cannot serve his Master, his thoughts are serving himself.
If you would “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” all things would then be added unto you. You are meddling with Christ’s business, and neglecting your own when you fret about your lot and circumstances. You have been trying “providing” work and forgetting that it is yours to obey. Be wise and attend to the obeying, and let Christ manage the providing. Come and survey your Father’s storehouse, and ask whether He will let you starve while He has laid up so great an abundance in His garner? Look at His heart of mercy; see if that can ever prove unkind! Look at His inscrutable wisdom; see if that will ever be at fault. Above all, look up to Jesus Christ your Intercessor, and ask yourself, while He pleads, can your Father deal ungraciously with you? If He remembers even sparrows, will He forget one of the least of His poor children? “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
My soul, rest happy in thy low estate,
Nor hope nor wish to be esteem’d or great;
To take the impress of the Will Divine,
Be that thy glory, and those riches thine.