VIDEO In the garden, Elvis Presley

Nov 1, 2007

Lyrics

(words & music by c.a. miles)

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The song of God discloses

And he walks with me
And he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of his voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that he gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And he walks with me
And he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I’ve Come to Help – The Holy Suffering of the Saint

I’ve Come to Help
walk on bridge
Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. —James 1:22

Reporter Jacob Riis’s vivid descriptions of poverty in 19th-century New York City horrified a generally complacent public. His book How the Other Half Lives combined his writing with his own photographs to paint a picture so vivid that the public could not escape the certainty of poverty’s desperate existence. The third of fifteen children himself, Riis wrote so effectively because he had lived in that world of terrible despair.

Shortly after the release of his book, he received a card from a young man just beginning his political career. The note read simply, “I have read your book, and I have come to help. Theodore Roosevelt.” (This politician later became a US President.)

True faith responds to the needs of others.

True faith responds to the needs of others, according to James (1:19-27). May our hearts be moved from inaction to action, from words alone to deeds that back them up. Compassionate action not only aids those mired in life’s difficulties, but it may also make them open to the greater message from our Savior who sees their need and can do so much more for them.

O Lord, it is so easy to be overwhelmed, or to judge and therefore to refrain from helping others. Lift our eyes above our own thoughts and circumstances, and let us care as You care.

Others will know what the words “God is love” mean when they see it in our lives.

By Randy Kilgore

cross woods
The Holy Suffering of the Saint

Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good… —1 Peter 4:19

Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God’s will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. And no saint should ever dare to interfere with the lesson of suffering being taught in another saint’s life.

The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. But the people used to strengthen us are never those who sympathize with us; in fact, we are hindered by those who give us their sympathy, because sympathy only serves to weaken us. No one better understands a saint than the saint who is as close and as intimate with Jesus as possible. If we accept the sympathy of another saint, our spontaneous feeling is, “God is dealing too harshly with me and making my life too difficult.” That is why Jesus said that self-pity was of the devil (see Matthew 16:21-23). We must be merciful to God’s reputation. It is easy for us to tarnish God’s character because He never argues back; He never tries to defend or vindicate Himself. Beware of thinking that Jesus needed sympathy during His life on earth. He refused the sympathy of people because in His great wisdom He knew that no one on earth understood His purpose (see Matthew 16:23). He accepted only the sympathy of His Father and the angels (see Luke 15:10).

Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgment. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, “God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him.” Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be.

Beware of isolation; beware of the idea that you have to develop a holy life alone. It is impossible to develop a holy life alone; you will develop into an oddity and a peculiarism, into something utterly unlike what God wants you to be. The only way to develop spiritually is to go into the society of God’s own children, and you will soon find how God alters your set. God does not contradict our social instincts; He alters them. Biblical Psychology, 189 L

Oswald Chambers

Don’t Waste Your Adversities

James 1:2-4

Are you wasting your troubles? Any time God allows trials to enter your life, He has a purpose for them. He wants you to squeeze out every ounce of spiritual growth instead of letting difficulties force you into despair and discouragement. If you’ll just respond in the right manner, the trial that looks as if it could destroy you becomes an instrument of blessing.

The most natural response to adversity is to groan and plead with the Lord to remove it. If that doesn’t work, we might get angry or try to find our own way out of the difficulty or pain. Sometimes we resort to blaming others for the trouble. And in truth, someone else might have caused the problem, but ultimately God allowed it. No matter where affliction originates, who is involved, or how evil their intentions, by the time it reaches you, it’s been dipped in the Father’s love and shaped to accomplish His good purpose. The question is, will you cooperate with Him, or will you resist?

Perhaps the key word is found in verse 4 of today’s reading. God wants to use our trial to develop spiritual maturity, but unless you let it do its work, that opportunity will be lost. If we could foresee every benefit the Lord designed our trials to accomplish, maybe we’d be more cooperative.

Although we can’t see all the specifics of God’s plan, we know that His goal is to use our adversity to supply something we lack so we can be mature and complete. Even though the experience is painful, rest in the Father’s comforting arms, and let Him do His perfect work in you.

Stewardship Conflicts

“Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:6-8)

The commission to rule over Earth was never withdrawn from mankind by the Creator. That Dominion Mandate implies authorization for the following human enterprises:

– Discovery of truth—science, research, exploration
– Application of truth—agriculture, engineering, medicine, technology, etc.
– Implementation of truth—commerce, transportation, government, etc.
– Interpretation of truth—fine arts, literature, theology
– Transmission of truth—education, communication, homemaking

When that authority was first delegated by the Creator, Earth was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). However, Adam’s failure in his first assignment created an ongoing conflict with mankind’s efforts on every front. Now, the “whole creation groaneth” (Romans 8:22) as the very ground from which all things are made (Genesis 3:17-19, 23-24) conflicts with the environment. “Thorns also and thistles” erupt from our efforts to cultivate (Genesis 3:18). Sin and death are the conditions of existence (Romans 5:12), and ignorance of God’s ideas, apart from God’s revelation, is rampant (1 Corinthians 2:14). Humanity’s drive is to serve ourselves, not God or others (Ephesians 2:1-3), and the ability to obey comes only through God’s new creation (Ephesians 4:17-24).

One day, all these wrongs will be righted with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Until that day, our mandate remains as stewards over Earth. HMM III

At Ease While the World Burns

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. —2 Corinthians 5:20

The fall of man has created a perpetual crisis. It will last until sin has been put down and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world.

Until that time the earth remains a disaster area and its inhabitants live in a state of extraordinary emergency….

To me, it has always been difficult to understand those evangelical Christians who insist upon living in the crisis as if no crisis existed. They say they serve the Lord, but they divide their days so as to leave plenty of time to play and loaf and enjoy the pleasures of the world as well. They are at ease while the world burns….

I wonder whether such Christians actually believe in the Fall of man! RDA, Jan. 17.

I’m too often at ease and consumed with my self-interests, Lord. Open my eyes to see the tragedy of friends and acquaintances on their way to a Christless eternity. Do it for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

Spiritual Receptivity May Be Increased by Exercise

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:2

Pick at random a score of great saints whose lives and testimonies are widely known. Let them be Bible characters or well-known Christians of post-biblical times. I venture to suggest that the one vital quality which they had in common was spiritual receptivity. They acquired the lifelong habit of spiritual response. They were not disobedient to the heavenly vision!

Receptivity is not a single thing; it is a compound, rather, a blending of several elements within the soul. It is an affinity for, a bent toward, a sympathetic response to, a desire to have. It may be increased by exercise or destroyed by neglect. It is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be recognized and cultivated as any other gift if it is to realize the purpose for which it was given.

The idea of spiritual cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times and return to biblical ways!

Chosen in Him

He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame. EPHESIANS 1:4

I have been told that sometimes when I preach I really worry the Calvinists, but I want to make a point here, and I take the chance of worrying my brethren in the Armenian persuasion.

The recorded acts of Creation in the beginning were not God’s first activity. God had been occupied before that, for He must have been engaged in choosing and foreordaining before the foundation of the world!

Paul told the Ephesian Christians: “[God] hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (1:4).

Can I explain how God could have chosen us before the creation of the world?

Can I explain the eternal nature of God, the uncreated Being? Can I explain a time when there was only God—no matter, no law, no motion, no relation and no space, no time and no beings, only God?

God was there, and God is not a void! He is the triune God, and He is all there is. Before the Creation He was already busy with eternal mercies and a redemptive plan for a mankind not yet created!

Merciful God, as I reflect upon Your eternal goodness, I am amazed once again at Your resoluteness to save a wayward world at such a great expense— Your only begotten Son.