VIDEO Farther Along, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris

May 12, 2010

You won’t find a better trio of female artists than this : Dolly, Emmylou, and Linda. This is from the wonderful album “Trio”. Lyrics by W.A. Fletcher, music by J.R. Baxter, Jr.. The song talks about the trials and tribulations that we suffer, sometimes seemingly unfairly when others around us are living sinfully yet prospering. But the promise is that someday “we’ll understand it, all by and by”. Trust in the Lord!

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Perseverance Is the Link

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance. Romans 5:3

In the 2012 Summer Olympics, a sprinter for Team USA, Manteo Mitchell, competed in the 4×400 meter relay. Halfway through his lap he heard a distinct “crack”—and felt the associated pain—in his leg. He continued running, finishing with a respectable time for someone running with a broken leg. Mitchell’s Olympics was over, but the team, with a substitute, won the silver medal because of his perseverance through pain.

In the midst of the race, Manteo Mitchell wasn’t about to abandon what he had trained for years to accomplish. And that is the nature of perseverance: “tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3). That’s why Paul makes such an unusual statement: “We also glory in tribulations.” Why glory in trouble? Because it’s the only way to learn to persevere. And why do we need to persevere? Because “perseverance [produces] character; and character [produces] hope” (Romans 5:4).

So, meditate on the connection between tribulation and hope. The link between the two is perseverance. If you want character and hope, learn to glory in tribulations!

The perseverance of the saints is only possible because of the perseverance of God. J. Oswald Sanders

You Can Defeat Discouragement

Nehemiah 2:1-8

Discouragement can rob peace, joy, and contentment. But I have great news if you feel disheartened: You need not be stuck!

I’ve known people who appeared to be in impossible situations. A few years later, however, they were in a terrific place, either in terms of their circumstances or their emotions. The reason? They never gave up. Instead of sulking in self-pity, they chose to believe God and step out in faith. In that way, they did not remain entrenched in an emotional pit.

Nehemiah is a good example. He had every reason to feel defeated, because his people were in trouble. After receiving news that the city wall had been destroyed, this man of God acknowledged profound disappointment and grieved. Yet doing so was risky, because sadness in the presence of royalty was punishable by death.

Though pain flooded his soul, Nehemiah didn’t allow himself to stay in that low place. Instead, he cried out to God for direction. And the Lord answered with amazing power, prompting the king to notice his servant’s sad countenance and then to ask what he could do to help. This miracle led to the rebuilding of the wall and the redemption of God’s people.

The Lord can take an impossible situation—no matter what it is—and move in ways mightier than you can imagine. Do you live in eager expectation of what the Lord will do? Or have you chosen to linger in the depths of despair? Like Nehemiah, turn your disappointment into a petition for God’s help. He can restore your hope and prevent negative emotions from gaining a stranglehold on your life.

The Right Man on Our Side

“Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” (Luke 22:31-32)

Satan wanted Peter to fall, and fall he would (v. 34), but Christ had prayed for him that victory would come. The second verse of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” reflects our vulnerability on our own and our invincibility on His side.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He,
Lord Sabaoth, His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

After revealing many thrilling blessings, Paul asks: “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). Furthermore, neither “principalities, nor powers” nor any thing else in all creation is “able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). With Him, Satan cannot win the battle for our minds or destinies. But on our own, we cannot win.

The term Sabaoth is the Hebrew word for “hosts,” in particular the “host of heaven.” The term Yahweh Sabaoth or “Lord Sabaoth” occurs some 300 times in the Old Testament and constitutes a most majestic name for God. “For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called” (Isaiah 54:5). This is none other than “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Creator (Colossians 1:16), Sustainer (v. 17), Redeemer (v. 20)—He must win the battle. JDM

Man With God

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. —Romans 8:34

Even among those who acknowledge the deity of Christ there is often a failure to recognize His manhood. We are quick to assert that when He walked the earth He was God with men, but we overlook a truth equally as important, that where He sits now on His mediatorial throne He is Man with God.

The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a Man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul. He is a man glorified, but His glorification did not dehumanize Him. Today He is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us.

But more than this, He is heir of all things, Lord of all worlds, Head of the Church and the Firstborn of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on Him in truth.

Father, not only do I have the assurance of my salvation, but I also know that You intercede for me as a man who has experienced life on this earth. Thank You for being both God with men and man with God. Amen.

We Are Getting Too Comfortable?

And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)

Is the fact that millions of Americans refuse to attend our church services only another symptom of original sin and love of moral darkness?

No, I believe that explanation is too “pat” to be wholly true.

Churches cannot deny they are too comfortable, too rich, too contented! We hold the faith of our fathers, but it does not hold us. God is trying to interest us in a glorious tomorrow and we are settling for an inglorious today. God has set eternity in our hearts and we have chosen time instead. We are bogged down in local interests and have lost sight of eternal purposes.

It was the knowledge that they were part of God’s eternal plan that imparted unquenchable enthusiasm to the early Christians. They burned with holy zeal for Christ, and felt they were part of an army which the Lord was leading to ultimate conquest over all the powers of darkness!

We have not so clear a view of him as we could wish

We have not so clear a view of him as we could wish; we know not the heights and depths of his love; but we know of a surety that he is too good to withdraw from a trembling soul the gift which it has been able to obtain. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, salvation is our present and eternal possession. If we cannot clasp the Lord in our hands with Simeon, if we dare not lean our heads upon his bosom with John, yet if we can venture in the press behind him, and touch the hem of his garment, we are made whole. Courage, timid one! thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.”