Judson and Jesus

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. Hebrews 12:3

Today’s Christians are in danger of losing their history. How few children now are taught the stories of our great pioneer missionaries—like Adoniram Judson, who became the first Protestant missionary sent out from North America. His life is stranger than fiction, and reading his biography makes us shudder one moment and praise God the next. Few have suffered as he did, and those who read his story wonder how he maintained sanity. Prison. Illness. Torture. Grief. The death of loved ones. The resistance of those in Burma whom he had come to reach. Yet for 37 years he persevered, and by the end of his ministry there were 63 churches in Burma, 163 other missionaries and helpers, and more than 7,000 baptized converts.

Judson once said, “In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain, our course by onward still; we sow on Burma’s barren plain, we reap on Zion’s hill.”

Let’s not shrink from the weariness, suffering, or toil of whatever life God has ordained for us. Let’s consider the heroes of our faith, count it all joy, and press on toward the prize.

Our prayers run along one road and God’s answers by another, and by and by they meet. Adoniram Judson

God’s Pathway of Goodness

Psalms 25:4-15

Although the Lord showers His goodness on all men and women, the ability to perceive and enjoy it is limited by a refusal to reverence Him as God. To experience the fullness of His kindness, we must honor Him by choosing His way of submission and obedience. The Lord will never withhold His goodness from those who walk uprightly with Him.

In love and wisdom, the Father has specifically designed a pathway for each of His children. Because no two people are alike, each path will look different. What may be best for one person may not be good for another. Comparison of God’s ways in different lives will lead only to discouragement and misjudgment. We have neither the wisdom nor the eternal perspective to understand why the Lord leads some people down a road of pain and hardship, but we can know that He is always good.

Every step on God’s pathway represents a deliberate choice to follow Him. By looking around instead of fixing our eyes on Jesus, we may start thinking that we are missing out on some really good experiences or possessions. If we leave the Lord’s course to follow one that looks better, we will forfeit His good blessings and discover, as Adam and Eve did, that any other way leads to loss.

Take time periodically to ask yourself, Am I on the path the Lord has chosen for me, or have I taken a detour to follow another direction that looks good? To build our own course and ignore the goodness and abundance of His pathway is foolishness. God alone knows the way we should take.

Creating Life

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.” (Genesis 1:20)

The two most fundamental laws of science state that matter can neither be created nor destroyed and that all processes tend to lose order, wear out, and eventually stop functioning. This is particularly significant when considering the origin of life.

Creation is an act of omnipotence and omniscience. Creation requires the bringing into existence of something that did not exist before. Creation even requires a unique word to define it! God had created (something from nothing) on Day One. God had then used the material of Day One to make everything else, including the stars, the sun, and the moon.

On Day Five, God created life. First were the water creatures and then the air creatures—“abundantly” throughout the planet. These living things were created, not made. On Day Six, He continued creating the “cattle,” “beasts of the earth,” and “creeping things” that would live on the dry land. They were very different from the air and water creatures, but they shared the created life that set them apart from the food that had the ability to reproduce “after its kind.”

After a close friend of the Lord Jesus had sickened and died, Jesus went to visit with the remaining sisters. As they were all grieving at the untimely loss, Christ revealed a core attribute of His deity: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25). Herein lies the source of “livingness”! Furthermore, Jesus promised, “He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26). Do you believe this? HMM III

No Adequate Words

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire. —Revelation 1:14

It is a sad thought, but I suppose some Christians are going to be disappointed when they actually see Jesus. Their concept of Him has been shaped by the paintings and images they have seen of the human Jesus. The radiant, awesome Jesus of the Revelation is totally outside their perspective….

In detailing his vision of the risen, glorified Christ, John conveys valuable insights to us. Jesus’ vesture is the priestly robe. His golden sash is designed for royalty. His snow-white head and hair speak of God’s utter holiness. His eyes, “as a flame of fire and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace,” depict God’s wrath and judgment (Revelation 1:14-15). John saw the face of Jesus as the sun shining in its full strength. How can anyone add to that? If you want to know how strong the sun is, try looking to the sky at midday. You never, never can gaze directly into that full glow….

I cannot fully comprehend the power and the glory belonging to this One whose face will shine eternally with the brilliance of the sun! I do not have the words to explain that kind of brightness and light. J

Lord, in our day of all-too-familiar flippancy before You, I need to be reminded of the majesty of our Great God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prophetic Voice

Speak every man truth… that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:25, 29)

The Christian minister cannot deny that God has called him to be a prophet to his own generation, for the Church is God’s witness to each generation and its ministers are its voice. Through them, the voice of God becomes vocal!

The true minister, therefore, should know what he means when he says that he preaches “the truth.” It is not enough that the man of God preach truth—suppose he recites the multiplication table? That is also truth. A church can wither as surely under the ministry of soulless Bible exposition as it can where no Bible is given at all. To be effective, the message must be alive—it must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God’s present voice to a particular people.

To preach the truth, the prophet must be under the constant sway of the Holy Spirit. He must be driven to God for wisdom. Otherwise, he will not pierce the conscience of each listener as if the message had been directed to him or her alone. Further, it is necessary that the man of God know the people’s hearts better than they themselves do!

Blessed Lord Jesus, be with me

Blessed Lord Jesus, be with me, reveal thyself, and abide with me all night, so that when I awake, I may be still with thee. I note that the dove brought in her mouth an olive branch plucked off, the memorial of the past day, and a prophecy of the future. Have I no pleasing record to bring home? No pledge and earnest of loving-kindness yet to come? Yes, my Lord, I present thee my grateful acknowledgements for tender mercies which have been new every morning and fresh every evening: and now, I pray thee, put forth thy hand and take thy dove into thy bosom.