Aug 28, 2012
If you haven’t yet, now is a good time to invite the Holy Spirit.
Aug 28, 2012
If you haven’t yet, now is a good time to invite the Holy Spirit.
The Lord God is my strength and my song. —nlt Isaiah 12:2
Everyone touched by a piece of music hears it differently. The composer hears it in the chamber of his imagination. The audience hears it with their senses and emotions. The members of the orchestra hear most clearly the sound of the instruments closest to them.
In a sense, we are the members of God’s orchestra. Often we hear only the music closest to us. Because we don’t hear a balanced work, we are like Job who cried as he suffered: “Now those young men mock me in song; I have become a byword among them” (Job 30:9).
Job recalled how princes and officials had respected him. His life was “awash in cream, and the rocks gushed olive oil for me” (29:6 nlt). But now, he had become the target of mockers. “My harp plays sad music,” he lamented (30:31 nlt). Yet there was much, much more to the symphony. Job simply couldn’t hear the whole song.
Maybe today you can hear only the sad notes of your own violin. Don’t lose heart. Every detail in your life is part of God’s composition. Or perhaps you are listening to a cheerful flute. Praise God for it and share your joy with someone else.
God’s masterpiece of redemption is the symphony we are playing, and ultimately everything will work together for His good purposes. God is the composer of our lives. His song is perfect, and we can trust Him.
Lord, help me to trust You, especially when my life seems discordant and out of tune. I thank You because I’m part of Your symphony and Your song is perfect.
Faith in God’s goodness puts a song in the heart.
…present…your members as instruments of righteousness to God. —Romans 6:13
I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot make atonement for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I cannot right what is wrong, purify what is impure, or make holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God. Do I have faith in what Jesus Christ has done? He has made the perfect atonement for sin. Am I in the habit of constantly realizing it? The greatest need we have is not to do things, but to believe things. The redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith on it.
If I construct my faith on my own experience, I produce the most unscriptural kind of life— an isolated life, with my eyes focused solely on my own holiness. Beware of that human holiness that is not based on the atonement of the Lord. It has no value for anything except a life of isolation— it is useless to God and a nuisance to man. Measure every kind of experience you have by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the foundation of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.
The atonement of Jesus must be exhibited in practical, unassuming ways in my life. Every time I obey, the absolute deity of God is on my side, so that the grace of God and my natural obedience are in perfect agreement. Obedience means that I have completely placed my trust in the atonement, and my obedience is immediately met by the delight of the supernatural grace of God.
Beware of the human holiness that denies the reality of the natural life— it is a fraud. Continually bring yourself to the trial or test of the atonement and ask, “Where is the discernment of the atonement in this, and in that?”
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
Yesterday, we read about how God shrank Gideon’s army down from 32,000 men to just 300 before an extremely important battle. Let’s see what happened next.
Of course, Gideon was feeling anxious. He was about to attack an enemy camp of more than 130,000 trained soldiers, and he was going to do it with just a handful of men. In this terrifying moment, God gave Gideon what he needed most: encouragement.
God woke Gideon in the middle of the night and strategically positioned him to overhear an enemy soldier recounting a frightful dream—a vision of Israelite victory! This unlikely circumstance assured Gideon that the Lord was at work. God graciously used that incident to demonstrate His sensitivity to one man’s faintheartedness. And He still does so for us today.
Consider the power of a friend’s encouraging words. Think about how meaningful it is when an unexpected blessing seems to fall from heaven right at your darkest moment. Ponder the impact of reading a reassuring verse when you most need it. These are not “happy accidents”—rather, they are precious confidence builders from God.
Our challenge is simply to remember the times in the past when our loving Father has encouraged us. Standing on the evidence of His faithfulness, we can boldly face the future, knowing that we are not alone.
As inhabitants of a fallen world, we will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But as children of God, we are never beyond reach of the Lord’s empowering encouragement.
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
The central message of the gospel lies in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. There is much more, of course, to our salvation. The immediate result is described in the two short verses of our text.
We have been delivered “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God” (Acts 26:18). We have been delivered “from unreasonable and wicked men” (2 Thessalonians 3:2) and “from every evil work,” and are preserved “unto his heavenly kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18). Ultimately, we have been delivered “from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
We have also been “translated” into the eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus. We will “not come into condemnation” but have been turned “from death unto life” (John 5:24). Our life prior to salvation was darkness, but we have been made “light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). No longer are we aliens outside of God’s family, but we have been “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).
Furthermore, all of our sins have been forgiven, and we are “justified freely by his grace” (Romans 3:24). That forgiveness and justification seal us “unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). And since this is an eternal transaction brought about by a transcendent Creator, we have been raised “up together, and made [to] sit together in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:6). Already we have the “earnest of our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:14) and the assurance that we will “obtain a better resurrection” (Hebrews 11:35).
In this life, we may struggle with human rejection. David’s comment seems appropriate: “I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge” (Psalm 71:7). HMM III
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. —1 Thessalonians 2:5-6
If this is a fairly accurate view of things, what can we say then when Christian men vie with one another for place and position? What can we answer when we see them hungrily seeking for praise and honor? How can we excuse the passion for publicity which is so glaringly evident among Christian leaders? What about political ambition in Church circles? What about the fevered palm that is stretched out for more and bigger “love offerings”? What about the shameless egotism among Christians? How can we explain the gross man-worship that habitually blows up one and another popular leader to the size of a colossus? What about the obsequious hand kissing of moneyed men by those purporting to be sound preachers of the gospel?
There is only one answer to these questions; it is simply that in these manifestations we see the world and nothing but the world. No passionate profession of love for “souls” can change evil into good. These are the very sins that crucified Jesus.
Deliver me, O God, from this insidious trap. Give me a humble spirit,willing to serve You faithfully, however obscure might be my service. Amen.
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Psalm 5:4, 5
God’s Word is unusually plain in teaching us that the operations of grace within the heart of a believer will turn that heart away from sin and toward holiness; “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
I do not see how it could be plainer!
The same grace that saves teaches the believer inwardly, and its teaching is both negative and positive. Negatively it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
Positively it teaches us to live soberly, righteously and godly light here in this present world.
The man of honest heart will find no difficulty here. He has but to check his own bent to discover whether he is concerned about sin in his life more or less since the supposed work of grace was done. Anything that weakens his hatred of sin may be identified immediately as false to the Scriptures, to the Saviour and to his own soul.
Whatever makes holiness more attractive and sin more intolerable may be accepted as genuine!
Their heart is far from me… in vain they do worship me. MATTHEW 15:8-9
It is my experience that the totality of our Christian lives—our entire attitude as persons—must be towards the worship of God!
If you do not know the presence of God in your office, your factory, your home, then God is not in the church you attend either!
I became a Christian when I was a young man working in a tire factory in Akron, Ohio.
I remember my work there—but I remember my worship there too! I had plenty of worshipful tears in my eyes. No one ever asked me about them, but I would not have hesitated to explain them.
You can learn to use certain skills until they are automatic. I became so skillful that I could do my work and then I could worship God even while my hands were busy.
If the love of God is in us and the Spirit of God is breathing praise within us, all the musical instruments in heaven are suddenly playing in full support! Even our thoughts become a sanctuary in which God can dwell.
Dear Lord, I pray that Your Spirit will so fill me today that my heart and mind will overflow in praise to You.