Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing Take My Hand, Precious Lord featuring Marshall Hall, Angela Primm & Jason Crabb
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me… —Matthew 11:29
“Whom the Lord loves He chastens…” (Hebrews 12:6). How petty our complaining is! Our Lord begins to bring us to the point where we can have fellowship with Him, only to hear us moan and groan, saying, “Oh Lord, just let me be like other people!” Jesus is asking us to get beside Him and take one end of the yoke, so that we can pull together. That’s why Jesus says to us, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). Are you closely identified with the Lord Jesus like that? If so, you will thank God when you feel the pressure of His hand upon you.
“…to those who have no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29). God comes and takes us out of our emotionalism, and then our complaining turns into a hymn of praise. The only way to know the strength of God is to take the yoke of Jesus upon us and to learn from Him.
“…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Where do the saints get their joy? If we did not know some Christians well, we might think from just observing them that they have no burdens at all to bear. But we must lift the veil from our eyes. The fact that the peace, light, and joy of God is in them is proof that a burden is there as well. The burden that God places on us squeezes the grapes in our lives and produces the wine, but most of us see only the wine and not the burden. No power on earth or in hell can conquer the Spirit of God living within the human spirit; it creates an inner invincibility.
If your life is producing only a whine, instead of the wine, then ruthlessly kick it out. It is definitely a crime for a Christian to be weak in God’s strength.
There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ by His Redemption can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
1 John 5:14-15
Sometimes our prayers are filled more with doubt than with confidence. We know that for God to answer our requests, our prayers must be in line with His will. However, wondering if we are praying according to His will can trip us up, and faced with the uncertainty, we will occasionally fall silent.
God’s will is for each of us to have a healthy relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. That means knowing the Father with increasing intimacy and progressively becoming more and more like Jesus. By focusing our prayers on having this type of relationship with the Lord, it becomes easier to know what to pray. Simply find a scripture that tells you something about God’s character, and pray that for others and for yourself. The results are:
– You can pray with confidence because God wants His children to be like Jesus Christ.
– You can pray expectantly because you know He will work out His will in our lives.
– You can cooperate with the Holy Spirit while He works to develop the same quality in you.
Prayer is not a game of “I Spy,” where we have to guess when to talk to the Lord or about what. Scripture is full of God’s attributes and His desires for our lives. Pick one and start praying. Then watch what God does in response. Prayer gains access to the proud spirit, to the hardened heart, to the unbelieving mind; there are no walls too high or thick for Him to breach. So pray God’s will and watch lives change—especially your own.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
The Bible insists its writers were supernaturally influenced by God to such an extent that their words were given divine accuracy. The unique word translated “inspiration” in our text could be rendered “God blowing” or “God puffing.” Peter speaks of “holy men of God” who “spake” as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). David was conscious that his own “tongue” was speaking words that the Holy Spirit of the Lord gave him (2 Samuel 23:2). Jeremiah was given audible instruction and told to reproduce those words precisely (Jeremiah 30:1-2; 26:2), as was Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8-10), who clearly knew he was being controlled by God (Isaiah 59:21).
These are samplings of some 2,600 claims in the Old Testament for direct inspiration of the text of Scripture. God used several methods to make sure that His word was “puffed” out, and on one occasion even wrote them with His own finger on tables of stone—twice (Exodus 31:18; 34:1). Those words were not only inspired but inscribed!
The writings of the 27 books of the New Testament are also full of declarations of God’s personal inspiration of the words. Jesus claimed to speak only what God the Father instructed Him to say (John 12:46-50). Paul knew he was given revelation (Ephesians 3:3-4) and insisted on equivalent standing with God’s commands (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Peter demanded remembrance of the apostles’ teachings (2 Peter 3:1-4, 15-16), John insisted on the accuracy of what he shared (1 John 1:1-3), and Jude verified the words of the other apostles (Jude 1:3, 17).
It seems we are confronted with an all-or-nothing proposition. Either all Scripture is inspired or none of it is. HMM III
Being justified freely by his grace through me redemption that is in Christ Jesus. —Romans 3:24
When God justifies a sinner everything in God is on the sinner’s side. All the attributes of God are on the sinner’s side. It isn’t that mercy is pleading for the sinner and justice is trying to beat him to death, as we preachers sometimes make it sound. All of God does all that God does. When God looks at a sinner and sees him there unatoned for (he won’t accept the atonement; he thinks it doesn’t apply to him), the moral situation is such that justice says he must die. And when God looks at the atoned-for sinner, who in faith knows he’s atoned for and has accepted it, justice says he must live! The unjust sinner can no more go to heaven than the justified sinner can go to hell. Oh friends, why are we so still? Why are we so quiet? We ought to rejoice and thank God with all our might!
With all my might I praise You, gracious God, that I have been justified freely by Your grace in Christ Jesus. Why are we so still, indeed! Amen.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. (Revelation 3:1)
God will speak to us if we read and study and obey the Word of God! But when He does speak, we should speak back to Him in prayer and devotion. Otherwise, we are among the Christians who are mired down right where we are.
Many in our congregations have grown older and yet are not one inch farther up the mountain than on that day when the sun first arose on them in conversion. In fact, some are not even as far advanced along the way with God as they were a few years ago.
If these things are true, I can only conclude that there are “common” Christians, men and women who no longer hear the Lord speaking to them as they should.
Can they really think that this halfway Christian life is the best that we can know?
In the face of what Christ offers us, how can we settle for so little?
It is a tragedy of our time that so many are settling for less than the Lord is willing to give!
If I once wandered on yon mountain top, and Jesus climbed up and caught me, and put me on his shoulders, and carried me home, I cannot and dare not doubt that He is my Shepherd. If I had belonged to some other sheep owner, he would not have sought me. And from the fact that He did seek, I learn that He must be my Shepherd. Could I trace my deliverance to the hand of a creature, I should think that some creature might be my shepherd; but since he who has been reclaimed of God must confess that God alone has done it, such a one will feel persuaded that the Lord must be his Shepherd, because He brought him, He delivered him.