Feb 7, 2013
Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing I Will Serve Thee featuring The Booth Brothers
Feb 7, 2013
Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing I Will Serve Thee featuring The Booth Brothers
What you sow is not made alive unless it dies. —1 Corinthians 15:36
By the end of the 4th century, followers of Christ were no longer being fed to the lions for the entertainment of Roman citizens. But the games of death continued until the day one man jumped out of the crowd in a bold attempt to keep two gladiators from killing each other.
His name was Telemachus. As a desert monk, he had come to Rome for the holidays only to find himself unable to tolerate the bloodlust of this popular pastime. According to the 5th-century bishop and church historian Theodoret, Telemachus cried out for the violence to stop but was stoned to death by the crowd. The Emperor Honorius heard about his courageous act and ordered an end to the games.
Some may question Telemachus. Was his action the only way to protest a tragic blood sport? The apostle Paul asked a similar question of himself: “Why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?” (1 Cor. 15:30). In 2 Corinthians 11:22-33, he chronicled some of his travails for the love of Christ, many of which could have killed him. Had it all been worth it?
In Paul’s mind the matter was settled. Trading things that will soon come to an end for honor that will last forever is a good investment. In the resurrection, a life that has been lived in behalf of Christ and others is seed for an eternity we will never regret.
Give us courage, Father, to make and live by choices that show the difference the love of Jesus makes in our lives. Help us not to trade away eternal values for convenience and comfort.
Now is the time to invest in eternity.
By Mart DeHaan
Receiving Yourself in the Fires of Sorrow
…what shall I say? “Father, save Me from this hour”? But for this purpose I came to this hour. “Father, glorify Your name.” —John 12:27-28
As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.
We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.
Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness, but it does not always make that person better. Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial.
The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.
by Oswald Chambers
The Lord’s commands are clear—He tells believers when to act, where to go, and what to do. He also provides the means for following His directions. The prophet Jonah was told to leave immediately for a certain city and cry out this warning: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). Instead, Jonah did something foolish (and altogether human). He ran.
Because he was a prophet, we can assume Jonah had studied the Scriptures and knew God intimately. Even so, displeasure over his assignment clouded his judgment, and he became convinced he could flee the Lord’s presence. Jonah was wrong. God sent a great storm and isolated him for three days inside a smelly fish. In other words, the Lord didn’t relent until the prophet agreed to comply.
Jonah learned that running away from the Lord doesn’t release us from His commands. Whether we refuse outright or quietly choose to pursue our own agenda, we simply cannot silence His call. Our Father will neither forget a directive nor change His mind about it, and so the Holy Spirit continues prompting us until we do as instructed.
People who run from divine direction may attempt to silence the Spirit’s reminders by filling their life with distractions. They know what God wants from them but are too proud, stubborn, or scared to comply. What we must understand is that God will pursue us—stripping away diversions and crutches to get our attention. Wise believers obey Him promptly rather than waste time and talent by running.
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)
There are some prayers that God hates, strange as that may seem. In fact, our very prayers can even “become sin” (Psalm 109:7). When one who has deliberately “turned away his ear” from the Word of God (preferring his own way to God’s revealed will as found in His Word) attempts to ask God for blessing or direction, his prayer becomes presumption. God hates such prayers, and those who pray them should not be surprised when He does not give them their request. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
No Christian is sinless, of course. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8). The obvious remedy is to ask the Lord, through His Word, to “see if there be any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:24), and then to confess and forsake any sin so revealed and known. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Then, having been cleansed from our unrighteousness, we are again made righteous, not only through Christ’s imputed righteousness, but also in righteous, daily living. Then the gracious promises of answered prayer can again become wholly effective, for “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
How vital it is to know and obey the Word of God, and how dangerous it is to turn our ears away from it. God will not be mocked for long! “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). HMM
She unto the LORD me glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. —Psalm 96:8-9
We of the nonliturgical churches tend to look with some disdain upon those churches that follow a carefully prescribed form of service…. But I have observed that our familiar impromptu service, planned by the leader twenty minutes before, often tends to follow a ragged and tired order almost as standardized as the Mass. The liturgical service is at least beautiful; ours is often ugly. Theirs has been carefully worked out through the centuries to capture as much of beauty as possible and to preserve a spirit of reverence among the worshipers. Ours is often an off-the-cuff makeshift with nothing to recommend it. Its so-called liberty is often not liberty at all but sheer slovenliness….
…mostly there is neither order nor Spirit, just a routine prayer that is, except for minor variations, the same week after week, and a few songs that were never much to start with and have long ago lost all significance by meaningless repetition.
In the majority of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear.
Lord, thank You for those worship leaders who really are working to restore a sense of genuine worship. May we capture that more and more. Amen.
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:9
It would he impossible to overemphasize the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian. Right thinking about all spiritual matters is imperative if we would have right living. As men do not gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles, so sound character does not grow out of unsound teaching!
The word ‘doctrine’ means simply religious beliefs held and taught. It is the sacred task of all Christians, first as believers and then as teachers of religious beliefs, to be certain that these beliefs correspond exactly to truth.
A precise agreement between belief and fact constitutes soundness in doctrine.
We cannot afford to have less.
Each generation of Christians must look to its beliefs. While truth itself is unchanging, the minds of men are porous vessels out of which truth can leak and into which error may seep to dilute the truth they contain.
When men deal with things earthly and temporal, they demand the truth; only in religious thought is faithfulness to truth looked upon as a fault!
Increasing numbers of evangelical Christians are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth, but moral power has always accompanied definitive beliefs. We need right now a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that liveth and abideth forever!
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance… and forgiveness of sins. ACTS 5:31
What a gracious thing for us that Jesus Christ never thinks about what we have been. He always thinks about what we are going to be!
The Savior who is our Lord cares absolutely nothing about your moral case history. He forgives it and starts from there as though you had been born one minute before.
The woman of Samaria met our Lord at the well and we ask, “Why was Jesus willing to reveal so much more about Himself in this setting than He did in other encounters during His ministry?”
You and I would never have chosen this woman with such a shadow lying across her life, but Jesus is the Christ of God, and He could sense the potential within her innermost being. He gave her the secret of His Messiahship and the secret of the nature of God. Her frankness and her humility appealed to the Savior as they talked of man’s need and the true worship of God by the Spirit of God.
In Jesus’ day, His critics said in scorn: “This man receives sinners!” They were right—and He lived and died and rose again to prove it. The blessed part is this: He is still receiving sinners!
Lord, I have many family, friends, and coworkers who need You as their Savior. Will You receive them into Your family today?