Aug 14, 2011 by SE Samonte
Another old time Hymn
Aug 14, 2011 by SE Samonte
Another old time Hymn
The email from the student in my college writing class expressed urgency. It was the end of the semester, and he realized he needed a better grade to participate in sports. What could he do? He had missed some assignments, so I gave him two days to complete those papers and improve his grade. His response: “Thank you. I’ll do it.”
Two days—and the deadline—passed, and no papers appeared. He didn’t back up his words with action.
Jesus told about a young man who did something similar. The boy’s dad asked him to do some work in the vineyard. The son said, “I will, sir” (Matt. 21:30). But he was all talk and no action.
In commenting on this parable, Matthew Henry concluded: “Buds and blossoms are not fruit.” The buds and blossoms of our words, which breed anticipation of what we might do, are empty without the fruit of our follow-through. Jesus’ main application was to religious leaders who spoke of obedience yet refused to follow through with repentance. But the words apply to us as well. It is in following God “with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18)—not in making empty promises—that we honor our Lord and Savior.
Our actions in obeying God show Him more love, honor, and praise than any empty words we might say to try to appear good.
Dear Father, help me to follow through on my promises to You and to all who depend on me. Especially help me to do Your will and not just talk about it.
Words are the blossoms, action the fruit.
…the simplicity that is in Christ. —2 Corinthians 11:3
Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly. A saint does not think clearly until a long time passes, but a saint ought to see clearly without any difficulty. You cannot think through spiritual confusion to make things clear; to make things clear, you must obey. In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. If there is something in your life upon which God has put His pressure, then obey Him in that matter. Bring all your “arguments and…every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” regarding the matter, and everything will become as clear as daylight to you (2 Corinthians 10:5). Your reasoning capacity will come later, but reasoning is not how we see. We see like children, and when we try to be wise we see nothing (see Matthew 11:25).
Even the very smallest thing that we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is completely sufficient to account for spiritual confusion, and spending all of our time thinking about it will still never make it clear. Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience. As soon as we obey, we have discernment. This is humiliating, because when we are confused we know that the reason lies in the state of our mind. But when our natural power of sight is devoted and submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit, it becomes the very power by which we perceive God’s will, and our entire life is kept in simplicity.
The Christian Church should not be a secret society of specialists, but a public manifestation of believers in Jesus. Facing Reality, 34 R
The Scriptures record many instances of conflict between nations, among friends, and in families. Today we see the same types of problems. While fighting, people can say harsh and even unfair words. Their accusations create turmoil and emotional pain. What we believe will determine the way we respond to such difficulties.
God’s Word proclaims His sovereignty over nature (Ps. 135:6), government (Job 12:23), and mankind (Acts 17:25). Nothing in heaven or on earth is hidden from Him or outside of His control. So, how does this help us in a conflict? First, our Father knows when people verbally attack us, and He has promised to protect us. Nothing can touch His children apart from His permissive will. Second, He has the power to work the painful times we endure into something beneficial (Rom. 8:28). We can have hope because His will cannot be thwarted, even in bad circumstances. Finally, we are His beloved children. He is a loving Father who understands what we are going through and always remains by our side. As His sons and daughters, we are not on our own.
When we believe in the Lord’s sovereign rule, our perspective on hard times changes. Instead of responding with fear, anger, or resentment, we will turn to Him in prayer and ask for guidance.
Conflict is inevitable. When we, or something we have done, is the source of the turmoil, we are to apologize. If others are at fault, we may have to confront them the way Paul did with Peter. But we are also called to forgive without exception. As Christ’s ambassadors, the way we respond really matters.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
The beautiful old hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” was written by the great hymn writer Charles Wesley. Let us use its five verses to focus our thoughts these next five days.
Arise, my soul, arise; Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands, (repeat)
My name is written on His hands.
At first reading, the theme of the song seems unclear, until we recognize that the sinner is being enjoined to come to salvation and by the power of the sacrificial blood shed on his behalf receive forgiveness and eternal life.
Because “Christ . . . hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2), “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access” (Romans 5:1-2) to the Father, who alone has the power to forgive our sins. We have no need to fear rejection, for “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
We can arise and “come boldly unto the throne of grace,” where God the Father reigns. We have assurance of access because our “surety of a better testament” (Hebrews 7:22) is “a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14), and “who is [seated] on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1). Here He requests the Father’s “mercy, and . . . grace” on our behalf, for He knows us by our names which are already “written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27) “from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 17:8). JDM
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. —Psalm 84:2
In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: Within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct “interpretations” of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.
This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon. It may be the cloud the size of a man’s hand for which a few saints here and there have been looking. It can result in a resurrection of life for many souls and a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day.
O Father, may their numbers increase more and more—those who “are athirst for God, and [who] will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.” Amen.
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Jesus calls us to His rest, and meekness is His method!
The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort. He develops toward himself a kindly sense of humor and learns to say, “Oh, so you have been overlooked? They placed someone else before you? They have whispered that you are pretty small stuff after all? And now you feel hurt because the world is saying about you the very things you have been saying about yourself? Only yesterday you were telling God that you were nothing, a mere worm of the dust. Where is your consistency? Come on, humble yourself, and cease to care what men may think!”
Rest is simply release from the heavy, crushing burden borne by mankind and the word Jesus used for ‘burden’ means a load carried or toil borne to the point of exhaustion. The ‘rest’ is not something we do—it is what comes to us when we cease to do.
The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself nothing; in God, everything. He rests perfectly content to allow God to place His own values!
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that noman take thy crown.REVELATION 3:11
There is no doubt in my mind that millions of Christians in our day yearnwithin themselves to be ready to see the Lord Jesus when He appears. These arethe saints of God who have a real understanding that what our Lord Jesus Christis to us in our personal lives, moment by moment, is more important than merelydwelling on “what He did for us”!
I say this because a great segment of Christian theology emphasizes the “utility”of the cross on which Jesus died, rather than the Person who died on that crossfor our sins.
Because of that view, many really have no emotional yearning for the return ofJesus. The best hope they know is a kind of intellectual, theological hope. But anintellectual knowledge of what the New Testament teaches about the return ofChrist is surely a poor substitute for a love-inflamed desire to look on His face!
While we await Him, our Lord expects us to love one another, to worship Himtogether and to send this gracious gospel to the ends of the earth.
Lord Jesus, what You did on the cross for us is mind-staggering, but to knowthat the “story” doesn’t end there is cause for great exulting! I know that You arerisen, because You live in me today!