Jan 31, 2013
The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing!!!
Jan 31, 2013
The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing!!!
The Valley of Vision
I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you. Jonah 2:7
The Puritan prayer “The Valley of Vision” speaks of the distance between a sinful man and his holy God. The man says to God, “Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision . . . ; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.” Aware of his wrongs, the man still has hope. He continues, “Stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine.” Finally, the poem ends with a request: “Let me find Thy light in my darkness, . . . Thy glory in my valley.”
Jonah found God’s glory during his time in the ocean’s depths. He rebelled against God and ended up in a fish’s stomach, overcome by his sin. There, Jonah cried to God: “You cast me into the deep . . . . The waters surrounded me, even to my soul” (Jonah 2:3,5 nkjv). Despite his situation, Jonah said, “I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you” (v. 7). God heard his prayer and caused the fish to free him.
Although sin creates distance between God and us, we can look up from the lowest points in our lives and see Him—His holiness, goodness, and grace. If we turn away from our sin and confess it to God, He will forgive us. God answers prayers from the valley.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Your stars shine; let me find Your light in my darkness.
The darkness of sin only makes the light of God’s grace shine brighter.
By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
The Assigning of the Call
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church… —Colossians 1:24
We take our own spiritual consecration and try to make it into a call of God, but when we get right with Him He brushes all this aside. Then He gives us a tremendous, riveting pain to fasten our attention on something that we never even dreamed could be His call for us. And for one radiant, flashing moment we see His purpose, and we say, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us. We say, “If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object. Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom. If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.
I wonder what finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you? Have you been as hard as a marble and escaped? If you are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you anyway, the wine produced would have been remarkably bitter. To be a holy person means that the elements of our natural life experience the very presence of God as they are providentially broken in His service. We have to be placed into God and brought into agreement with Him before we can be broken bread in His hands. Stay right with God and let Him do as He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.
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, 1330 L
“Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:73)
Understanding the Word of God begins with seeing God as the Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16-17). The beginning of faith rests solidly on belief in the creation (Hebrews 11:3), and even the “everlasting gospel” embraces the conscious worship of the Creator (Revelation 14:6-7). “I am the LORD, and there is none else….Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!” (Isaiah 45:5, 9).
Scholars who distort Scripture to compromise with the atheistic naturalism of evolutionary science wind up “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). May God rebuke them.
The theme of this stanza (Psalm 119:73-80) weaves a series of requests around various examples of need centered around the psalmist’s leadership position. “They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word” (v. 74). “Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies” (v. 79).
Though he recognized that the Lord “afflicted” him in the past (v. 75), the psalmist also expected the Lord to bring him mercies and comfort, for the law of God was his delight (v. 77). We might view this godly leader as “set for the defence of the gospel” (Philippians 1:17) and “ready always to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15).
In summary, the last verse of this stanza reads: “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed” (Psalm 119:80). Would God that our hearts be driven to this level of boldness in our witness while resting in the absolute authority, integrity, and accuracy of the infallible writings of the Creator God for our salvation (2 Timothy 3:16). HMM III
The Lord calls us to share His truth with others, but oftentimes our actions and attitude completely contradict the words that are coming out of our mouths. This is an area in which we all seem to struggle.
Every day, every one of us communicates something to someone. We send messages by what we say and by what we don’t say, by what we do and by what we don’t do.
For example, if a father quietly decides to stop tithing, he is sending a loud message to his children. Without ever opening his mouth, he is declaring, “Kids, you can’t trust the Lord with your money. God isn’t faithful to meet your needs, so you better hold on to as much as you possibly can.” Is that the message you want to pass on to your sons and daughters?
You might argue, “Well, I’m not really a tither, but I would never tell my kids that you can’t trust God.” However, you have already sent an unspoken yet very clear message. What people—especially children—witness in our behavior speaks much louder than what we actually say with our mouths.
The apostle Paul understood what powerful lessons we teach by our actions. For this reason, he made sure he modeled the right behavior and values for his spiritual children to emulate (2 Thess. 3:7-9).
It is not an issue of whether or not we will communicate a message. Rather, the issue is, What kind of message are you already communicating? Search yourself for any disparity between what you say and what you do, and choose to share a complete, unified message of hope with the world.
And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also. —Acts 17:6.
There is no limit to
what God could do in our world if
we would dare to surrender before
Him with a commitment like this:
Oh God, I hereby give myself to You. I give my family. I give my business. I
give all I possess. Take all of it, Lord—and take me! I give myself in such
measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for Your sake, let me lose
it. I will not ask what the price is. I will ask only that I may be all that I ought
to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
If even 300 of God’s people became that serious, our world would never hear the last of it! They would influence the news. Their message would go everywhere like birds on the wing. They would set off a great revival of New Testament faith and witness.
God wants to deliver us from the easygoing, smooth and silky, fat and comfortable Christianity so fashionable today. I hope we are willing to let the truth get hold of us, even at the cost of rejection or embarrassment.
The faith of the heavenly overcomers cost them everything and gained them everything. What of our faith?
Oh God, I hereby give myself to You “in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for Your sake, let me lose it.” Amen.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God…. 1 Thessalonians 4:16
The believing Christian should be living in joyful anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ, and that is such an important segment of truth that the devil has always been geared up to fight it and ridicule it. In fact, one of his big successes is being able to get people to argue and get mad about the details of the Second Coming—rather than looking and waiting for it.
Suppose a man has been overseas two or three years, away from his family. Suddenly a cable arrives for the family with the message: “My work completed here; I will be home today.”
After some hours he arrives at the front door with his bags. But in the house the family members are in turmoil. There has been a great argument as to whether he would arrive in the afternoon or evening and what transportation he would be using. So, no one is actually watching for his arrival.
You may say, “That is only an illustration.”
But what is the situation in the various segments of the Christian community?
They are fighting with one another and glaring at each other. They are debating whether He is coming and how He is coming. That is the work of the devil—to make Christian people argue about the details of His coming so they forget the most important thing!
And God created… every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. GENESIS 1:21
I am thankful I have found a promise from the God of all grace that deals with the “long term” and the eternal. I belong to a body of plain people who believe the truth revealed in the Bible. These are the people who believe that God in the beginning made the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein.
Yes, these plain, believing people will tell you that God created the flowers to be beautiful and the birds to sing, so that men and women could enjoy them. We believe that God made the birds to warble and harmonize as though they were tuned to a harp.
But the scientist disagrees, saying, “It is simply biological. The bird sings only to attract a mate.”
Actually, the God who made the birds is the Chief Musician of the universe. He made the harps in those little throats and said, “Go and sing!” Thankfully, the birds obeyed, and they have been singing and praising God ever since they were created!
I praise You, Lord, for the beautiful world You created for Your enjoyment and ours.
I pray that Your Spirit will move in the hearts of scientists and physicists who recognize the earthly wonders but who refuse to believe in a Creator God.