He Is Our Servant Master

“The Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people.” MATTHEW 20:28

As a young boy, I read a Russian fable about a master and a servant who went on a journey to a city. Many of the details I’ve forgotten but the ending I remember. Before the two men could reach the destination they were caught in a blinding blizzard. They lost their direction and were unable to reach the city before nightfall.

The next morning concerned friends went searching for the two men. They finally found the master, frozen to death, facedown in the snow. When they lifted him they found the servant—cold but alive. He survived and told how the master had voluntarily placed himself on top of the servant so the servant could live.

I hadn’t thought of that story in years. But when I read what Christ said he would do for us, the story surfaced—for Jesus is the master who died for the servants.

from AND THE ANGELS WERE SILENT

The Blessings of God

Ephesians 1:3-14

Everyone experiences difficulty in life. During painful times, we may feel as though God is not blessing us. But even then, we are experiencing many of His amazing gifts, despite the fact that they might be escaping our notice.

Below are several examples of blessings we can enjoy on bright or dark days:

• We are assured that our almighty God chose us before the foundation of the world (v. 4). He predestined us to be adopted as His children (v. 5). We can feel special and wanted because the Sovereign of the universe selected us.

• Jesus provided our salvation through His death and resurrection (v. 7). He redeemed us from sin that causes separation from God and ultimately leads to death. As a result, we receive a brand-new nature and daily forgiveness of iniquities (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 1:9).

• The Holy Spirit resides within us. He guides, warns, and fills us so we always have access to counsel or comfort. And because He also seals us, our eternity is secure (Eph. 1: 13).

• Our Father prepares an inheritance for us that is imperishable (1 Peter 1:4). We may experience momentary troubles, but we can look forward to living eternally in God’s presence, where there is joy and no suffering.

In painful situations, you might be tempted to conclude that the Lord’s hand isn’t resting on your life. But believers have wonderful spiritual blessings at all times. Without the four permanent gifts listed above, fear and emptiness would be overwhelming. Ponder these benefits, and express gratitude, even in difficulty.

Sinning Against the Lord

“And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13)

A basic truth is expressed in this confession of David’s: Every sin—not only the sin of blasphemy or of unbelief—is essentially a sin against the Lord and His nature of absolute righteousness.

This does not mean, of course, that sin hurts no one except God. In David’s case, his sin resulted in the murder of a faithful soldier, Uriah; the implication of Bathsheba in David’s adultery; and then the death of his infant son. It probably also contributed to the subsequent sins of two other sons of David, Amnon and Absalom. Furthermore, as Nathan said, it had “given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” (v. 14).

Nevertheless, it was, above all else, a sin against God. God had chosen David as king and had blessed him abundantly, yet David was not content and elected to make his own decisions in rebellion against the will of God and the Word of God. But when he was made to realize, by Nathan, what he had done, he immediately repented of his sin, and thereby received forgiveness.

God, in His grace, has made a wonderful provision for forgiveness and restoration because “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Therefore, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7, 9).

Confession must be specific and sincere, of course, not general and superficial, to be effective. But if this is done, then we can exclaim joyfully with David: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered,” because he first, as he said, “acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid” (Psalm 32:1, 5). HMM

His heart fretteth against the Lord

His heart fretteth against the Lord.—Proverbs 19:3. I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.—Psalm 119:75.

AND my soul complaineth not,
For no pain or fears dismay her;
Still she clings to God in faith,
Trusts Him though He seem to slay her.
‘Tis when flesh and blood repine,
Sun of joy, Thou canst not shine.
JOHANN J. WINCKLER.

IMPATIENCE and fretting under trial does but increase our suffering, whereas meek submission sanctifies all suffering, and fills the tortured heart with peace amid its anguish. Worship Him in every sorrow; worship Him in deed and word, but still more in humble and loving acceptance of each pang and heartache. Be sure that your mere silent willing endurance is a true act of adoration, and thus, come what may, weariness, pain, desolation, destitution, loneliness, all will carry on His gracious work in you, and, amid the sharpest pressure of suffering, you will be sending up to His eternal throne the precious incense of submission and trust. ABBÉ GUILLORÉ.

If a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him?

If a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? 1 Samuel 2:25

If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world. — Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

He is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

1 John 2:1,2. Romans 3:25,26. Job 33:24. Romans 8:31,33,34.

Fight the good fight of faith

If ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; … those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Numbers 33:55

Fight the good fight of faith. — The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, … and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. — I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. —

We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

1 Timothy 6:12. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5. Romans 8:12,13. Galatians 5:17. Romans 7:23. Romans 8:37.