VIDEO Out of the Ruins – Something Beautiful

Out of the Ruins

He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins. Ezra 9:9

In the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem you’ll find Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue. Built in the 19th century, the synagogue was dynamited by commandos during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

For years the site lay in ruins. Then, in 2014, rebuilding began. As city officials set a piece of rubble as the cornerstone, one of them quoted from Lamentations: “Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old” (5:21).

It takes time, but we can always trust Him.

Lamentations is Jeremiah’s funeral song for Jerusalem. With graphic imagery the prophet describes the impact of war on his city. Verse 21 is his heartfelt prayer for God to intervene. Still, the prophet wonders if that is even possible. He concludes his anguished song with this fearful caveat: “unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure” (v. 22). Decades later, God did answer that prayer as the exiles returned to Jerusalem.

Our lives too may seem to be in ruins. Troubles of our own making and conflicts we can’t avoid may leave us devastated. But we have a Father who understands. Gently, patiently, He clears away the rubble, repurposes it, and builds something better. It takes time, but we can always trust Him. He specializes in rebuilding projects.

Lord, You have reclaimed us, and You are remaking us. Thank You for Your love and Your care despite our self-centered and destructive ways.
Thank You for true forgiveness and unity in You.

God will one day restore all the beauty lost before.

By Tim Gustafson


 Something Beautiful, Steven Curtis Chapman 

 

Those Caring for The Disabled Have an Opportunity to Share the Love of God in a Unique Way

According to the NSIP, an estimated 48.9 million people, or 19.4% of the non-institutionalized civilians living in the United States, have a disability, and 24.1 million people have a severe or handicapping disability. Photo: Stock Photo <br/>

Prominent evangelist Billy Graham has said that those who care for society’s most vulnerable members have the opportunity to display the love of God in a unique way, and shared some words of encouragement for those in such a position.

Over the weekend, an individual identified only as “M.R.” wrote to the evangelist and revealed that she and her husband parent a child with disabilities. Recently, M.R. overheard someone comment that they wondered what the couple had done to make God punish them by giving them a child with disabilities.

M. R. asked, “Surely this isn’t right, is it?”

After agreeing that such a comment “isn’t right at all,” Graham, 97, said, “I regret this person’s insensitivity, and I hope you won’t take it seriously.”

While admitting he doesn’t understand why God allows disabilities to happen, the evangelist called to mind the story found in John 9, in which Jesus and his followers came upon a man who had been blind since birth. His disciples asked Jesus why it had happened, and questioned if the condition was because the man himself had sinned, or because his parents had sinned?

“Behind their question was a belief that was common in those days: If someone was disabled, it must be because God was punishing them for something they had done. And as you learned, some people still think this way today,” Graham explained. “But Jesus told them they were wrong. Obviously the man himself wasn’t being punished for any sin he had committed. He was blind at birth. But neither, Jesus said, had it happened because of anything his parents had done.”

He then quoted Jesus’ words found in John 9:3: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Jesus then healed the man.

Graham concluded: “May you see your daughter in the same way, as an opportunity for God to display his love and his work through you. Yours is not an easy road, I know, but God is with you, and Christ wants to help you. Ask him to help you see your lives and your daughter through his eyes.”

According to the NSIP, an estimated 48.9 million people, or 19.4% of the non-institutionalized civilians living in the United States, have a disability, and 24.1 million people have a severe or handicapping disability.

In a February interview with The Gospel Herald, Joni Eareckson Tada, founder of Joni and Friends, an organization accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community, urged the Church to be on the frontlines helping and supporting the disabled and their family members.

“Sometimes, we Christians tend to think that pro-life issues mainly surround a woman’s uterus, what happens inside her womb,” she said. “But to be pro-life is to care not only about what happens to that unborn baby yet in his mother’s womb; pro-life perspectives extend to helping that child once that child is born with a disability. So many infants are born with seriously handicapping conditions, and their mothers and fathers take these little children home with these conditions, and suddenly their lives change and they become socially isolated, financially strapped, their patience runs out, they become angry, they’re not connected with the mainstream of life.”

She added, “This is an opportunity to show what a pro-life perspective really means, when we reach out and embrace these mothers, fathers and children with special needs. They should not have to suffer alone. God never intended for us to suffer alone. That’s why He created the spiritual community, the Church. The Church needs to extend that pro-life perspective and care not only what happens to that baby in the womb, but what happens once he’s born, and once he grows older, and once he becomes an adult – embracing those people with disabilities and their families and the church is a true pro-life stance.”

 

By Leah Marieann Klett

 

http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/63738/20160425/billy-graham-those-caring-for-the-disabled-have-an-opportunity-to-share-the-love-of-god-in-a-unique-way.htm

 

 

How To Serve The Church

1 Corinthians 12:18-26

When I talk about Christians serving the church with their God-given talents and gifts, people oftentimes think too small, perhaps picturing the choir singer or the Sunday school teacher. But if they themselves aren’t naturally adept at singing or teaching, they give up.

It’s time that we stop thinking in terms of a “Sunday only” establishment. The church is not simply a place or a time; it is a body of believers, each one uniquely gifted by God to guide, help, challenge, and support the rest. In fact, most service to the Lord doesn’t take place inside the church building. It happens out in the world, where we do all the things that Scripture commands.

The majority of believers aren’t in a position to influence a lot of people. When we act or speak, only those closest to us notice, but a chain reaction ripples outward to affect an entire community. Paul’s metaphor of body parts working together harmoniously is a helpful description of how one small action can have a widespread impact. Consider the way tensing your toes will keep your foot stable and thereby steady your whole body. In the same way, a gentle rebuke, a listening ear, or a loving deed benefits the church by strengthening one brother or sister, who then supports another.

We are on this earth to serve the kingdom of God and His church. And we do that by ministering to each other in small ways that steady the whole body as we give extra support to one member. In talking about such service, I challenge you to find a need that God can meet through you.

Mercy and Truth

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

The words “mercy” (Hebrew checed, also often translated by “kindness” or “lovingkindness”) and “truth” (Hebrew emeth) occur more often in the psalms than in any other book. In fact, “mercy” occurs more in the psalms than in all the rest of the Old Testament put together. Though at first these two concepts seem opposed to each other (for how can God’s truth, which abhors sin, be compatible with His mercy, which forgives sin?), nevertheless they are “met together,” for “his salvation,” according to the previous verse, “is nigh them that fear him” (v. 9).

“Mercy and truth” (or “lovingkindness and truth”) are brought together at least 16 times in the Old Testament, including 10 times in the psalms. And when God’s eternal truth can be united with His loving mercy, both mediated through His Holy Word, there is great blessing indeed! “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies” (25:10). “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (138:2). The first time the phrase is found in the Bible is in the prayer of Abraham’s servant, thanking God for “his mercy and his truth” (Genesis 24:27).

God’s mercy and truth, of course, are really met together only in Jesus Christ, through whom God can both “be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). He is “our peace” (Ephesians 2:14) and is “made unto us . . . righteousness” (1 Corinthians 1:30). He is “the truth” (John 14:6) and will show in the ages to come “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). HMM

Language Is Inadequate

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
—Exodus 3:5

I will endeavor to discuss the holiness of God, the Holy One. We cannot comprehend it, and we certainly cannot define it.

Holiness means purity, but “purity” doesn’t describe it well enough. Purity merely means that it is unmixed, with nothing else in it. But that isn’t enough. We talk of moral excellency, but that isn’t adequate. To be morally excellent is to exceed someone else in moral character. But when we say that God is morally excellent, who is it that He exceeds? The angels, the seraphim? Surely He does—but that still isn’t enough. We mean rectitude; we mean honor; we mean truth and righteousness; we mean all of these— uncreated and eternal….

Language cannot express the holy, so God resorts to association and suggestion. He cannot say it outright because He would have to use words for which we know no meaning….

God cannot tell us by language, so He uses association and suggestion and shows how holiness affects the unholy. He shows Moses at the burning bush before the holy, fiery Presence, kneeling down to take his shoes from his feet, hiding his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

Lord, I don’t often stop to contemplate the reality of Your holiness. Give me a glimpse of Your holiness today, even if I have to hide my face in fear. Amen.

Do You Have Spiritual Confirmation?

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. (Hebrews 10:22)

The human personality has a right to be consciously aware of a meeting with God. There will be a spiritual confirmation, an inward knowledge or witness!

This kind of confirmation and witness was taught and treasured by the great souls throughout the ages.

Conscious awareness of the presence of God! I defy any theologian or teacher to take that away from the believing church of Jesus Christ!

But be assured they will try. And I refer not just to the liberal teachers. God has given us the Bible for a reason—so it can lead us to meet God in Jesus Christ, in a clear, sharp encounter that will burn on in our hearts forever and ever.

When the Bible has led us to God and we have experienced God in the crisis of encounter, then the Bible has done its first work. That it will continue to do God’s work in our Christian lives should be evident!

It certainly is not possible for us

It certainly is not possible for us to be in a position where Omnipotence cannot assist us. God hath servants everywhere. There are “treasures hid in the sand,” and the Lord’s chosen shall eat thereof. When the clouds hide the mountains they are as real as in the sunshine; so the promise and the Providence of God are unchanged by the obscurity of our faith, or the difficulties of our position. There is hope, and hope at hand, therefore, let us be of good cheer.

When we are at our worst let us trust with unshaking faith. Recollect that then is the time when we can most glorify God by faith.

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