Aug 14, 2014
Newsboys – Hallelujah For The Cross
Aug 14, 2014
Newsboys – Hallelujah For The Cross
You, who once were alienated . . . , yet now He has reconciled. —Colossians 1:21
In the years following the American Civil War (1861–1865), Union Major General Lew Wallace served as a governor of the New Mexico territories; New Mexico not yet having been admitted as a state. His work there put him in contact with many of the characters that make up the Wild West’s near-mythic history, including Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett. It was here that Wallace wrote what has been called by some “the most influential Christian book” of the 19th century, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
Wallace witnessed the worst impact of sin on humanity as he saw the violence of the Civil War and the Wild West. In life and in his best-selling book, Wallace understood that only the story of Jesus Christ has the power of redemption and reconciliation.
For the follower of Christ, the climax of our lives was the moment God “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14). Now we have the privilege of being storytellers of God’s wonderful redemption. By Randy Kilgore
Paul mentions the believer’s past, present, and future in this passage. We “once were enemies,” but now in Christ “we have redemption” and are “reconciled” (vv.14,21). When Christ returns, He will “present [us] holy and blameless” if we “continue in the faith” (vv.22-23).
Lord, please take control of my words today.
Fill me with Your words of love and grace.
Use them to turn some heart toward You.
I can do nothing without You.
The difference Christ makes in your life is a story worth telling.
We each have a story to tell that someone needs to hear.
Life is continually changing. At times I tell myself that if just a few pressing issues resolve, my days will be calmer. But as soon as those problems are settled, a new challenge pops up. Even globally, we’re in a constant state of flux. The economy rises and then spirals downward. Gas and food prices increase. New conflicts flare up all the time. Since we live in a fallen world, trouble is part of our reality. Life will never settle down to the point that we can sail along with uninterrupted ease.
Thankfully, God guides believers through times of turbulence (Ps. 23). He is the Good Shepherd, who constantly abides with His world-weary lambs. Jesus vowed to His disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans” (John 14:18). And His promise was fulfilled in the person of the Holy Spirit, who was sent to indwell and care for each of God’s followers. Paul poetically described the Spirit as a seal placed around believers until they are called to their heavenly home. In other words, He provides a protective barrier against evil forces desiring to snatch us from God’s hand.
In the verses leading up to today’s reading, Paul described his audience as the Lord’s children (Rom. 8:16). So let me be very clear that the promise of a holy, protective presence is only for those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior. No one’s life will always be calm. But believers are assured of a Companion in the dark hours. You can be confident that God’s goodness and love will surround you until you dwell in His house forever (Ps. 23:6).
“Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.” (Psalm 69:34)
We may not yet understand the full purpose of God in creation, but at least one aspect of that purpose is that all things created should somehow praise their Creator. This theme occurs often in Scripture, especially in the psalms. For example, in addition to the exhortation in our text:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalm 19:1).
“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for he cometh” (Psalm 96:11-13).
“All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee” (Psalm 145:10).
“Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. . . . Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl” (Psalm 148:3-4, 7-10).
The Lord Jesus said that if men should refuse to praise Him and “should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40). Yet even though the whole creation—in its beauty, complexity, and providential orderliness—gives continual praise to its Creator, men perversely have “worshipped and served the creature [or more aptly stated, the creation] more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever” (Romans 1:25).
How poignant, therefore, is the final verse of the book of Psalms: “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 150:6). HMM
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. —Joshua 1:8
To think God’s thoughts requires much prayer. If you do not pray much, you are not thinking God’s thoughts. If you do not read your Bible much and often and reverently, you are not thinking God’s thoughts….
There also has to be a lot of meditation. We ought to learn to live in our Bibles. Get one with print big enough to read so it does not punish your eyes. Look around until you find a good one, and then learn to love it. Begin with the Gospel of John, then read the Psalms. Isaiah is another great book to help you and lift you. When you feel you want to do it, go on to Romans and Hebrews and some of the deeper theological books. But get into the Bible. Do not just read the little passages you like, but in the course of a year or two see that you read it through. Your thoughts will one day come up before God’s judgment. We are responsible for our premeditative thoughts. They make our mind a temple where God can dwell with pleasure, or they make our mind a stable where Christ is angry, ties a rope and drives out the cattle. It is all up to us.
Lord, help us to lead Your people wisely, despite the barrage of outside influences we face every day. Amen.
… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8
It is part of the devil’s business to keep the Christian’s spirit imprisoned. He knows that the believing and justified Christian has been raised up out of the grave of his sins and trespasses. From that point on, Satan works that much harder to keep us bound and gagged, actually imprisoned in our own grave clothes!
He knows that if we continue in this kind of bondage we will never be able to claim our rightful spiritual heritage. He knows also that while we continue bound in this kind of enslavement we are not much better off than when we were spiritually dead.
This is one reason why the Christians in today’s churches are behaving like a flock of frightened sheep—so intimidated by the devil that we can’t even say “Amen!”
I am sure that it is not glorifying to our God that Christians should be so intimidated and silenced in our day. It was Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, who came down and took our human body for Himself. He was a man, born of a woman, a man wearing our own nature—but He was also God!
He went out to the cross and they sacrificed Him there. The Father, God Almighty, accepted His sacrifice as the one, final fulfillment and consummation of all the sacrifices ever made on Jewish altars. After three days, He came out of the grave, then ascended as Victor over death and hell!
Believing this, we ought to be the most fearless, the happiest and most Godassured people in the whole world!
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life. ROMANS 6:23
Many evangelical teachers insist so strongly upon free, unconditional grace as to create the impression that sin is not a serious matter and that God cares very little about it!
They make it seem that God is only concerned with our escaping the consequences.
The gospel, then, in practical application, means little more than a way to escape the fruits of our past!
But the heart that has felt the weight of its own sin and has seen the dread whiteness of the Most High God will never believe that a message of forgiveness without transformation is a message of good news. To remit a man’s past without transforming his present is to violate the moral sincerity of his own heart.
To that kind of thing God will be no party! For to offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him most!
Father, thank You for changing me from the inside out. Empower me by Your Spirit to live in the light of Your forgiveness today.