Oct 14, 2011
Martin Luther, one of the most bravest souls ever, to stand up against the church. Ihat would be like standing up against God himself of that era. God has spoken through Martin Luther, who changed the church for good. 486 years later, the mighty fortress is and will always be our God
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 2 Corinthians 9:6
Many of us remember the story of “The Little Red Hen” found in the Little Golden Books so many years ago. In the tale, the industrious hen found a grain of wheat and asked her friends—the pig, the cat, and the frog—to help her plant it. Declining to help her along the stages of planting and harvesting and even the baking, suddenly when the bread was made from her labors, her friends were interested in partaking in the “work.” Sadly, this simple folk tale mimics how some Christians approach their Christian faith.
The apostle Paul often spoke of the need for followers of Christ to remain diligent and disciplined. He told Titus to preach self-discipline to the Cretans. The residents of the island of Crete were notoriously lazy, he said, but those who became believers should become “self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word” (Titus 1:8-9). He told them to be ready for every good work and careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:1, 8). “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14).
Lazy Christians are not effective Christians. Let’s be diligent in our walk of faith today.
If a man’s lazy, what can you do for him? Other faults a man may overcome but I almost despair if a man is lazy. D. L. Moody
Do you ever feel stuck in discouragement? If so, you are not alone.
At some point, everyone experiences dashed hopes. Disappointment—an emotional response to a failed expectation—is the normal initial reaction. But allowed to linger, it can turn into discouragement, which hovers like a dense cloud. When that’s the case, there is no sense of joy or contentment, regardless of what you do.
The circumstances that trigger these emotions may be unavoidable, but how we respond is a choice. Either we can let sadness overwhelm our soul or we can face the situation with courage and bring it before the One who can help.
Living in discouragement will divide the mind, making it hard to focus on anything besides our pain. Then as anger becomes habitual, we’ll look for someone to blame—whether God, people around us, or ourselves.
Frustration that isn’t handled well may develop into despair, which in turn can estrange us from others—people do not enjoy the company of someone who’s bitter and defeated. This isolation leads to low self-esteem. Finally, in a fog of discouragement, we can make poor decisions based on crushed emotions instead of truth. Obviously, choosing this self-destructive path is not God’s best for us.
Though we all face disappointment from time to time, believers are not to wallow in it. Instead, God wants us to trust Him with everything—even unmet expectations and deep sadnesses. Remember, there is divine purpose for everything He allows to touch His children’s lives (Rom. 8:28).
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear.” (Psalm 46:1-2)
Martin Luther’s journal entries inform us of his continual battle against evil forces and that Psalm 46 was a great comfort to him. As he meditated on the words of our text, the thrust of a mighty song was born that openly declared victory in the great battle: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
The battle to be fought is “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan, along with his henchmen, is an ancient foe, “a roaring lion,” as it were, “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But there is no need for alarm, “the LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:11). He “is our refuge and strength” (today’s text), a bulwark never failing. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
Only God could accomplish this victory, for Satan is “the prince of this world” (John 14:30), “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). No man on Earth is his equal.
But how did the Son of God gain the victory? By taking on Himself “flesh and blood” and dying a substitutionary death, “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). JDM
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. —Philippians 2:9
We can surely know this, at least: that the Incarnation required no compromise of deity. Let us always remember that when God became incarnate there was no compromise on God’s part….
But the holy God who is God, and all else not God, our Father who art in heaven, could never compromise Himself. The Incarnation, the Word made flesh, was accomplished without any compromise of the holy Deity.
The living God did not degrade Himself by this condescension. He did not in any sense make Himself to be less than God.
He remained ever God and everything else remained not God. The gulf still existed even after Jesus Christ had become man and had dwelt among us. Instead of God degrading Himself when He became man, by the act of Incarnation He elevated mankind to Himself….
Thus, we do not degrade God but we elevate man—and that is the wonder of redemption!
Lord, You are so powerful that You could humble Yourself, yet remain the majestic God. Thank You, Father, that because Jesus came down to me, I can be raised up to be with You. Amen.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:8)
Grace is the goodness of God confronting human demerit. So, grace is what God is— unchanging, infinite, eternal!
This throws light on God’s dealings with men and women throughout the Old Testament dispensations and history. It is certainly the truth, and a proper concept for us to hold, that no one was ever saved, no one is now saved, and no one will ever be saved except by the grace of God.
Before Moses came with the Law, men were saved only by grace. During the time of Moses, no one was saved except by grace. After Moses, before the cross, and after the cross, and during all of the dispensations, anywhere, anytime, no one was ever saved by anything but the grace of God!
We can say this with assurance because God dealt in grace with mankind looking forward to the Incarnation and the atoning death of Christ.
If God had not always operated in grace, He would have swept the sinning human race away. This, then, is the good news: God is gracious all the time, and when His grace becomes operative through our faith in Jesus Christ, then there is the new birth from above!
The sovereign choice of the Father, by which he elected us unto eternal life, or ever the earth was, is a matter of vast antiquity, since no date can be conceived for it by the mind of man. We were chosen from before the foundations of the world. Everlasting love went with the choice, for it was not a bare act of divine will by which we were set apart, but the divine affections were concerned. The Father loved us in and from the beginning. Here is a theme for daily contemplation. The eternal purpose to redeem us from our foreseen ruin, to cleanse and sanctify us, and at last to glorify us, was of infinite antiquity, and runs side by side with immutable love and absolute sovereignty.