VIDEO Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, and others sing Friends at 34th Dove Awards 2003

Apr 28, 2013

“But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
cause our hearts in big and small ways
will keep the love that keep us strong…

Though its hard to let you go
in the Father’s hands we know…
that a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends…”

Destructive Pride

In the classic 1991 animated movie Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is the town’s strapping, egotistical hero. He’s a “manly man” admired by the locals and desired by many of the town’s younger women. Most seem to be huge fans of Gaston and overlook his obnoxious ways, except for the young and beautiful Belle.

At the start of the film, Gaston meets Belle on the street and takes the book she is reading. “How can you read this?” Gaston asks her. “There’s no pictures. . . . It’s time you [Belle] got your head out of those books and paid attention to more important things, like me.”

Gaston is a modern-day version of the Old Testament character Absalom—King David’s third son. The book of 2 Samuel describes him in the following terms: “Now Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all Israel. He was flawless from head to foot. He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was so heavy. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds!” (2 Samuel 14:25-26).

Like Gaston, Absalom appeared to be stuck on himself—especially his hair. Ironically, it was his long locks that led to his final undoing. During an intense battle against his father’s forces, Absalom was killed after his full head of hair got caught in the thick branches of a large tree and it left him dangling before his enemy (2 Samuel 18:9-14).

Solomon, the younger brother of Absalom, later wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Perhaps one of the ways he learned this was by seeing how arrogance led to his brother’s demise.

Holy Spirit, please make us aware of the destructive pride that potentially lurks within all of us.

by Jeff Olson

Was Jesus Christ Really God?

John 1:1-18

The divinity of Jesus Christ is one of the most controversial issues facing every human being. It is also the most critical. Our faith hangs in the balance on this question.

There are many who say they believe in Jesus and in God, but do not think that Jesus is God. They believe many good things about Him, however. They accept Him as a teacher. They marvel at Him as a healer. They revere Him as a philosopher, revolutionary, and social reformer. And yet, they cannot—or rather will not—accept Him as Lord.

I want to be crystal clear on this matter. You can believe all of these wonderful things about Jesus. You can go so far as to laud Him as a prophet sent by almighty God. But if you do not accept that He is one with God—the Savior who died for your sins—then you do not know Him at all.

Now, you may have heard people argue that Jesus Himself never actually claimed to be God. This is simply not true. Time and again in the Gospels, Jesus places Himself on equal footing with the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 10:30; 14:6-14). The truth is, if Jesus was not truly God’s Son, then as C. S. Lewis observed, He was either a lunatic or the world’s most detestable liar.

If you’re the least bit uncertain about this eternal question, don’t let another minute pass before taking steps to figure out the answer. Take the time to examine the Gospels. Talk to your pastor or believing friends. Settle for yourself the life-changing question, “Was Jesus Christ really God?”

Whosoever Will May Come

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” (Joel 2:32)

“God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). Yet in the above “whosoever” passage of the Old Testament, it is clear that those who “call on the name of the LORD” were the same as “the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” Those who call on the Lord have first been called by the Lord. He accepts all those who call on Him from every nation, but no doubt their geographical location to a large extent determines whether they will even hear of Him, and “how then shall they call on him . . . of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14).

Theologians of great intellect have wrestled with these questions for centuries without resolving them, at least to the satisfaction of those of different mental persuasion. On the practical level, however, the Holy Spirit led Peter to quote this passage in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

Peter was still speaking only to Jews, of course, but they had assembled at Jerusalem “out of every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). But then Paul made it forever plain that “whosoever” applied to everyone when he also quoted Joel. “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, on the very last page of Scripture, says: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). So, whosoever will may come! One can contemplate later, with deep thanksgiving, the mysteries of the divine call, but first he must come, and if he so wills, he may! HMM

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.—Matthew 6:20, 21.

SINCE I am coming to that holy room Where with the choir of saints forevermore I shall be made Thy music, as I come I tune the instrument here at the door, And, what I must do then, think here before. JOHN DONNE.

TO lay up treasure in heaven is to do acts which promote, or belong to, the kingdom of God; and what our Lord assures us of is that any act of our hands, any thought of our heart, any word of our lips, which promotes the divine kingdom by the ordering whether of our own life or of the world outside—all such activity, though it may seem for the moment to be lost, is really stored up in the divine treasure-house; and when the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, shall at last appear, that honest effort of ours, which seemed so ineffectual, shall be found to be a brick built into that eternal and celestial fabric. CHARLES GORE.

We cannot remove the conditions under which our work is to be done, but we can transform them. They are the elements out of which we must build the temples wherein we serve. BROOKE FOSS WESTCOTT.

What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise

What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise. Jonah 1:6

This is not your rest: … it is polluted, it shall destroy you. — Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. — If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. — Set your heart and your soul to seek your God: arise therefore.

Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. — Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. — Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. —Now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. — Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he finds you sleeping.

Micah 2:10. Colossians 3:2. Psalm 62:10. 1 Chronicles 22:19. Luke 22:46. Luke 21:34. Matthew 25:5. Hebrews 10:37. Romans 13:11. Mark 13:35,36.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not. — When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light. — Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. —We have also a sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. —Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. — They need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Psalm 17:4,5. Proverbs 6:22,23. Isaiah 30:21. John 8:12. 2 Peter 1:19. 1 Corinthians 13:12. Revelation 22:5.