Jun 17, 2015
Matt Redman – Unbroken Praise, Album: Unbroken Praise, Year: 2015
Jun 17, 2015
Matt Redman – Unbroken Praise, Album: Unbroken Praise, Year: 2015
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
Why does the intoxicated driver escape an accident unharmed while his sober victim is seriously injured? Why do bad people prosper while good people suffer? How often have you been so confused by things going on in your life that you have cried out, “Doesn’t God care?”
Habakkuk struggled with this same question as he saw the distressing situation in Judah where wickedness and injustice were running rampant (Hab. 1:1-4). His confusion drove him to ask God when He would act to fix the situation. God’s reply was nothing short of perplexing.
When we don’t understand God’s ways, we can #trust His unchanging character.
God said that He would use the Chaldeans as the means of Judah’s correction. The Chaldeans were notorious for their cruelty (v. 7). They were bent on violence (v. 9) and worshiped nothing but their military prowess and false gods (vv. 10-11).
In moments when we don’t understand God’s ways, we need to trust His unchanging character. That’s exactly what Habakkuk did. He believed that God is a God of justice, mercy, and truth (Ps. 89:14). In the process, he learned to look at his circumstances from the framework of God’s character instead of looking at God’s character from the context of his own circumstances. He concluded, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (Hab. 3:19).
Lord, it is easy to let my circumstances change how I understand You. Help me to remember that You are good and faithful, even though I can’t see everything and may not understand how You are working.
Our situation may look very different from God’s point of view.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man… —1 Corinthians 10:13
The word temptation has come to mean something bad to us today, but we tend to use the word in the wrong way. Temptation itself is not sin; it is something we are bound to face simply by virtue of being human. Not to be tempted would mean that we were already so shameful that we would be beneath contempt. Yet many of us suffer from temptations we should never have to suffer, simply because we have refused to allow God to lift us to a higher level where we would face temptations of another kind.
A person’s inner nature, what he possesses in the inner, spiritual part of his being, determines what he is tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the true nature of the person being tempted and reveals the possibilities of his nature. Every person actually determines or sets the level of his own temptation, because temptation will come to him in accordance with the level of his controlling, inner nature.
Temptation comes to me, suggesting a possible shortcut to the realization of my highest goal— it does not direct me toward what I understand to be evil, but toward what I understand to be good. Temptation is something that confuses me for a while, and I don’t know whether something is right or wrong. When I yield to it, I have made lust a god, and the temptation itself becomes the proof that it was only my own fear that prevented me from falling into the sin earlier.
Temptation is not something we can escape; in fact, it is essential to the well-rounded life of a person. Beware of thinking that you are tempted as no one else— what you go through is the common inheritance of the human race, not something that no one has ever before endured. God does not save us from temptations— He sustains us in the midst of them (see Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15-16).
We are not to preach the doing of good things; good deeds are not to be preached, they are to be performed. So Send I You
I believe Ruth’s remarkable loyalty is what earned her a place in both the Bible and the lineage of Jesus Christ. Our culture idealizes “looking out for number one,” but Scripture teaches us to protect loved ones and those in need (1 Cor. 13:7; Ps. 82:3-4). Ruth is a shining example of faithfulness—she willingly adjusted her own schedule and expectations to meet Naomi’s needs.
With no family left to care for her and no neighbors who shared her faith in God, Naomi found herself in a foreign land, far from the comfort of a familiar and like-minded community. During those dark hours, Ruth—her son’s pagan widow—sacrificed everything to stay at Naomi’s side. Then, to care for her aging mother-in-law, Ruth set aside hope of remarriage as well as the prospect of a child. She packed her bags for a foreign country and swore to follow a strange religion: the worship of Naomi’s God.
Ruth undoubtedly was aware of the risks involved in casting her lot with another woman in a male-dominated society, but she did so without hesitation. And the young woman’s commitment did not end when they arrived in Israel. It was Ruth, following Naomi’s directions, who kept the two women fed. And it was Ruth, again under Naomi’s tutelage, who made a strategic alliance with Boaz that secured their future.
Ruth sacrificed mightily for her mother-in-law, and as a result, God gave her the very things she thought she’d forfeited—a God who loved her, a home, a husband, and a son. Moreover, Ruth is counted among the ancestors of the Messiah, Jesus. What a testimony of the reward for loyalty.
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11)
The fourth verse of the hymn “Arise, My Soul, Arise” speaks of God the Father answering the request of God the Son and granting salvation to a repentant sinner, adopting him into His family.
The Father hears Him pray, His dear Anointed One;
He cannot turn away the presence of His Son.
His Spirit answers to the blood, (repeat)
And tells me I am born of God.
As Christ the Messiah hung on Calvary’s tree, God the Father turned away, unable in His holiness to look upon Christ as He bore “the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1) He cried in His agony. But once God’s righteous justice was satisfied, the Father turned back and answered Christ’s prayer, even from the horns of the altar, as it were (Psalm 22:21). “I and my Father are one,” Christ had said (John 10:30), and once sin’s penalty was paid, there would be no more separation.
And when a sinner comes to God, claiming the blood of Christ as a full payment for his sins, and Christ Himself prays for the sinner’s full forgiveness and acceptance, the Father cannot turn away, for “he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
In our text, the same Spirit which raised up Christ grants the spiritually dead sinner new life and declares him to be born of God. “Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again [literally, ‘born from above’]” (John 3:7). “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). JDM
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD; and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. —Isaiah 55:7
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. But it can be done. Every now and then in the past Christians have had to do it. History has recorded several large-scale returns led by such men as St. Francis, Martin Luther and George Fox. Unfortunately, there seems to be no Luther or Fox on the horizon at present. Whether or not another such return may be expected before the coming of Christ is a question upon which Christians are not fully agreed, but that is not of too great importance to us now.
What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know. But what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days.
Lord, today I commit myself to “turn to God in earnest,” to “begin to exercise [myself] unto godliness,” and to “seek to develop [my] powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility.” Amen.
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up…. Acts 1:1, 2
I am afraid we modern Christians are long on talk and short on conduct. We use the language of power but our deeds are the deeds of weakness.
Our Lord and His apostles were long on deeds. The gospels depict a Man walking in power, “who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
The moral relationship between words and deeds appears quite plainly in the life and teachings of Christ.
In the Sermon on the Mount Christ placed doing before teaching: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19).
Since in one of its aspects religion contemplates the invisible it is easy to understand how it can be erroneously made to contemplate the unreal. The praying man talks of that which he does not see, and fallen human minds tend to assume that what cannot be seen is not of any great importance and probably not even real, if the truth were known.
So religion is disengaged from practical life and retired to the airy region of fancy where dwell the sweet insubstantial nothings which everyone knows do not exist but which they nevertheless lack the courage to repudiate publicly.
I could wish that this were true only of pagan religions; but candor dictates that I admit it to be true also of much that passes for evangelical Christianity
Peter and John answered…We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. ACTS 4:19-20
In this unfriendly world, is our Christian deportment too fearful and cowardly? Is this generation guilty of the sin of silence?
The Bible has much to say in praise of prudence, but it has nothing but condemnation for the coward! It is also plainly taught in the New Testament that the soul that is too timid to own and confess Christ before men will be denied before the Father in heaven.
It is apparent that Christian men and women are not speaking out as they should when the Enemy stalks into the very sanctuary and pollutes the holy place! Fun and frolic, films and fiction, Hollywood ideals and religious entertainment, big-business techniques and cheap worldly philosophies now overrun the sanctuary. The grieved Holy Spirit broods over the chaos but no light breaks forth.
Could it be that too many of God’s true children—and especially the preachers—are sinning against God by guilty silence? Those who do speak up on the side of Truth will pay a price for their boldness but the results will be worth it!
Lord, I pray for Hollywood filmmakers, secular businessmen, and unscrupulous politicians. Impress upon each one their need for a Savior—and then help them to change the world through their godly influence.