Our God Our Father

LORD, remember your mercy and love that you have shown since long ago. PSALM 25:6

[Recently], my daughter Jenna and I spent several days in the old city of Jerusalem … One afternoon, as we were exiting the Jaffa gate, we found ourselves behind an orthodox Jewish family—a father and his three small girls. One of the daughters, perhaps four or five years of age, fell a few steps behind and couldn’t see her father. “Abba!” she called to him. He spotted her and immediately extended his hand …

When the signal changed, he led her and her sisters through the intersection. In the middle of the street, he reached down and swung her up into his arms and continued their journey.

Isn’t that what we all need? An Abba who will hear when we call? Who will take our hand when we are weak? Who will guide us through the hectic intersections of life? Don’t we all need an Abba who will swing us up into his arms and carry us home? We all need a father.

from THE GREAT HOUSE OF GOD

Why Listening Is Critical

Nehemiah 8:9-12

Sometimes we take certain blessings for granted. Stop and think what it would be like if we couldn’t attend the church of our choice or read a Bible in our language.

During the 70-year Babylonian captivity, the temple and its sacrificial system weren’t available to the Israelites. And those born in that land didn’t understand the language of Scripture. So when the opportunity arose to hear God’s Word in Jerusalem, they were ready to listen.

Ezra read to them about the Lord’s promises to Abraham and his descendants, the covenants God made with the nation of Israel, and His requirements of faith and obedience. As the people listened with repentant hearts, they felt conviction and wept over their sins. But they also experienced joy because they were once again following the Lord’s commands. The people trusted not only the words of Scripture but also the men who explained its meaning.

The Bible is our source of truth about God’s righteous character, mankind’s sinful nature, and the plan of salvation. In its pages, we discover that man has a sin problem but no way to solve it on his own. We also learn that God’s just nature requires a penalty for transgression. Scripture goes on to reveal how divine justice was carried out against Jesus for our sin—that He died in our place, and through faith in Him, we receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. What an amazing provision from the God of love.

Good listening is essential, because faith comes from hearing God’s message (Rom. 10:17), and spiritual growth also depends on heeding what He tells us.

Spirits of Truth and Error

“We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6)

Here we are given assurance that we will be able to tell the difference in people by the way they respond to the Word of God. The emphasis is on the believer’s ability to discern a spirit (attitude or character) of truth or error among those to whom we witness.

This is important because we are told not to cast “pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6) and to “shake off the very dust” from our feet against those who will not receive our witness (Luke 9:5).

Others disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness when they are really the ministers of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). How can we tell which is which?

The spirit of truth is relatively easy to discern. Those who hear the Word (Mark 4:18-20) and receive the Word with all readiness of mind (Acts 17:11) are of the truth (John 18:37). Such people come willingly to the light (John 3:21) and ask for a “reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

The spirit of error can be more difficult to discern. Its source is Satan (John 8:44), who deceives (Revelation 12:9) and uses his servants to manipulate and mislead (Ephesians 4:14).

Some of these run among God’s family and live “in error” (2 Peter 2:18). They can be fruitless trees and “raging waves . . . foaming out their own shame” (Jude 12-13), or like “tares” among the wheat that even the angels have trouble recognizing (Matthew 13:38-40). These won’t listen to truth.

Our job is to be ready to give the answer to the one and to reject the other. HMM III

God is able to make all grace abound toward you

God is able to make all grace abound toward you: that ye always having all sufficiency in all things may abound to every good work.—2 Corinthians 9:8.

O LOVE,Thy sovereign aid impart
To save me from low-thoughted care;
Chase this self-will through all my heart,
Through all its latent mazes there;
Make me Thy duteous child, that I
Ceaseless may “Abba, Father” cry.
GERHARD TERSTEEGEN.

THE grace which keeps me from falling one inch further, irrecoverably, and is not worn out by my provocations in this wilderness, is simply more visibly alive and active in my most certain experiences, more prompt, more steady, than I have any experience of among material things and persons. Everything material is simply feeble; and everything personal is shadowy, as compared with this personality under whose shadow I am allowed to dwell. And all this is the more extraordinary because of the hurry, hotness, dryness, aridity of the life I am obliged to live in London, if correspondence, interviews, letters, are to be kept down and dealt with at all. The want of time to read and think, the shortness and distractions of prayer, seem to threaten one’s very existence as a conscious child of God. And yet He is on my right hand and I know it.
EDWARD WHITE BENSON.

The year of my redeemed is come

The year of my redeemed is come.Isaiah 63:4

Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, … and unto his family.

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast out the dead.

The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.

Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name.

Leviticus 25:10. Isaiah 26:19. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. Hosea 13:14. Jeremiah 50:34.

The Lord giveth wisdom

The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. — If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbradeth not; and it shall be given him. — The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. — God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. That no flesh should glory in his presence.

The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. — Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.

All bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. — Never man spake like this man. — Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

Proverbs 3:5. James 1:5. 1 Corinthians 1:25. 1 Corinthians 1:27,29. Psalm 119:130. Psalm 119:11. Luke 4:22. John 7:46. 1 Corinthians 1:30.