Dec 4, 2011
A classic hymn!
Dec 4, 2011
A classic hymn!
Light in the Darkness
During a trip to Peru, I visited one of the many caves found throughout that mountainous country. Our guide told us that this particular cave had already been explored to a depth of 9 miles—and it went even deeper. We saw fascinating bats, nocturnal birds, and interesting rock formations. Before long, however, the darkness of the cave became unnerving—almost suffocating. I was greatly relieved when we returned to the surface and the light of day.
That experience was a stark reminder of how oppressive darkness can be and how much we need light. We live in a world made dark by sin—a world that has turned against its Creator. And we need the Light.
Jesus, who came to restore all of creation—including humanity—to its intended place referred to Himself as that “light” (John 8:12). “I have come as a light into the world,” He said, “that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (12:46).
In Him, we not only have the light of salvation but the only light by which we can find our way—His way—through our world’s spiritual darkness.
How have you seen God’s light displayed in our broken world? In what ways have you shared His light?
Tell us your answers to these questions at http://www.odb.org.
When we walk in the Light, we won’t stumble in the darkness.
By Bill Crowder
The Staggering Question
He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” —Ezekiel 37:3
Can a sinner be turned into a saint? Can a twisted life be made right? There is only one appropriate answer— “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:3). Never forge ahead with your religious common sense and say, “Oh, yes, with just a little more Bible reading, devotional time, and prayer, I see how it can be done.”
It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we see the activity and mistake panic for inspiration. That is why we see so few fellow workers with God, yet so many people working for God. We would much rather work for God than believe in Him. Do I really believe that God will do in me what I cannot do? The degree of hopelessness I have for others comes from never realizing that God has done anything for me. Is my own personal experience such a wonderful realization of God’s power and might that I can never have a sense of hopelessness for anyone else I see? Has any spiritual work been accomplished in me at all? The degree of panic activity in my life is equal to the degree of my lack of personal spiritual experience.
“Behold, O My people, I will open your graves…” (Ezekiel 37:12). When God wants to show you what human nature is like separated from Himself, He shows it to you in yourself. If the Spirit of God has ever given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God (and He will only do this when His Spirit is at work in you), then you know that in reality there is no criminal half as bad as you yourself could be without His grace. My “grave” has been opened by God and “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18). God’s Spirit continually reveals to His children what human nature is like apart from His grace.
by Oswald Chambers
In the 1986 movie The Mission, a guilt-ridden slave trader named Mendoza struggles to climb a treacherous mountain while carrying an overloaded pack of armor and weapons. It is a task of his own making: He purposely selected this cumbersome burden as penance for the violent sins in his past.
At the peak of a mountain and the height of his frustration, Mendoza balances precariously at an impassable ridge, his awkward bag preventing him from moving another inch. As he pulls with every ounce of his strength, a young native boy suddenly comes toward him and draws a large knife. Mendoza fears for his life, but the youth has something else in mind. He cuts the heavy pack from Mendoza’s back and lets it fall into the deep ravine.
Unable to communicate with each other, the two men embrace as Mendoza’s tears reveal his deep feelings of gratefulness and relief.
Though sin mars the life of each of us, God has not called us to carry the weight of guilt on our backs. Neither does He require us to atone for our own wrongdoings. Instead, God sent His only Son Jesus to bear the sin of the entire world. The Savior’s blood was shed to relieve us of the debt we each owed to God (John 3:16; Romans 4:25).
What burden are you carrying right now? Psalms 55:22 says to cast it on the Lord. Will you allow Jesus to “cut the ties” and receive you into His outstretched arms?
“For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3)
Here is a strong New Testament confirmation of the Genesis record of a creation completed in the past—thus not continuing in the present as theistic evolutionists have to assume. Whatever processes God may have used during the six days of creation, they are no longer in operation for “the heavens and the earth were finished, . . . on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made. . . . And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).
The record in Genesis could not be more clear and specific, but the fact that it is in Genesis tends to demean it in the minds of many scientists and theologians. So they prefer to believe in a continuing evolution and long ages in the past. But the writer of Hebrews once again confirms the fact of a completed creation: “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:10).
The writer is not trying to defend the completed creation as such, but merely assuming it as a commonly acknowledged truth. In fact, God’s “rest” from His works of creation is taken as a prophetic type of the spiritual rest of a Christian believer when he ceases trusting his own works of legalism and relies fully on the finished work of Christ for his eternal salvation. On the cross, before the Lord had died for our sins, He had cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), and our debt for sin was fully paid. God’s great work of redemption was completed, just as was His work of creation, and now we also can rest from our “dead works to serve the living God” (Hebrews 9:14). HMM
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! —Romans 11:33
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary lists 550,000 words. And it is a solemn and beautiful thought that in our worship of God there sometimes rush up from the depths of our souls feelings that all this wealth of words is not sufficient to express. To be articulate at certain times we are compelled to fall back upon “Oh!” or “O!”—a primitive exclamatory sound that is hardly a word at all and that scarcely admits of a definition.
Vocabularies are formed by many minds over long periods and are capable of expressing whatever the mind is capable of entertaining. But when the heart, on its knees, moves into the awesome Presence and hears with fear and wonder things not lawful to utter, then the mind falls flat, and words, previously its faithful servants, become weak and totally incapable of telling what the heart hears and sees. In that awful moment the worshiper can only cry “Oh!” And that simple exclamation becomes more eloquent than learned speech and, I have no doubt, is dearer to God than any oratory.
Today I want to just quietly reflect in unspoken awe…. Amen.
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind:…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:23, 24
God is faithful—He is never going to be done with us in shaping us and fashioning us as dear children of God until the day that we will see Him face to face!
Truly, in that gracious day, our rejoicing will not be in the personal knowledge that He saved us from hell, but in the joyful knowledge that He was able to renew us, bringing the old self to an end, and creating within us the new man and the new self in which can be reproduced the beauty of the Son of God!
In the light of that provision, I think it is true that no Christian is where he ought to be spiritually until that beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ is being reproduced in daily Christian life.
I admit that there is necessarily a question of degree in this kind of transformation of life and character.
Certainly there has never been a time in our human existence when we could look into our own being, and say: “Well, thank God, I see it is finished now. The Lord has signed the portrait. I see Jesus in myself!”
Nobody will say that—nobody!
Even though a person has become like Christ, he will not know it, because humility and meekness are also a part of the transformation of true godliness!
Much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. ROMANS 5:15
It is a typical and accepted teaching in Christian churches today that Moses and the Old Testament knew only God’s law, and that Christ and the New Testament know only God’s grace.
I repeat: That is the “accepted” teaching of the hour—but I also hasten to add that it is a mistaken concept, and that it was never the concept held and taught by the early Christian church fathers.
God has always been the God of all grace, and He does not change.
Immutability is an attribute of God; therefore, God at all times and in all of history must act like Himself!
He is the God of all grace; therefore, the grace of God does not ebb and flow like the ocean tides. There has always been the fullness of grace in the heart of God. There is no more grace now than there was previously, and there will never be any more grace than there is now!
The flow of God’s grace did not begin when Christ came to die for us. It was part of God’s ancient plan of redemption and was manifested in the blood and tears and pain and death at Calvary’s cross!
Lord, I am a recipient of Your abundant grace, and without it I would perish. I pray that others will see Your grace in my life today.