VIDEO Something Beautiful / Let’s Just Praise the Lord

Nov 22, 2012

Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing Something Beautiful / Let’s Just Praise the Lord (Medley) featuring Danny Gaither

Unchanging Law of Judgment

With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you —Matthew 7:2

This statement is not some haphazard theory, but it is an eternal law of God. Whatever judgment you give will be the very way you are judged. There is a difference between retaliation and retribution. Jesus said that the basis of life is retribution— “with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” If you have been shrewd in finding out the shortcomings of others, remember that will be exactly how you will be measured. The way you pay is the way life will pay you back. This eternal law works from God’s throne down to us (see Psalm 18:25-26).

Romans 2:1 applies it in even a more definite way by saying that the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very same thing. God looks not only at the act itself, but also at the possibility of committing it, which He sees by looking at our hearts. To begin with, we do not believe the statements of the Bible. For instance, do we really believe the statement that says we criticize in others the very things we are guilty of ourselves? The reason we see hypocrisy, deceit, and a lack of genuineness in others is that they are all in our own hearts. The greatest characteristic of a saint is humility, as evidenced by being able to say honestly and humbly, “Yes, all those, as well as other evils, would have been exhibited in me if it were not for the grace of God. Therefore, I have no right to judge.”

Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). He went on to say, in effect, “If you do judge, you will be judged in exactly the same way.” Who of us would dare to stand before God and say, “My God, judge me as I have judged others”? We have judged others as sinners— if God should judge us in the same way, we would be condemned to hell. Yet God judges us on the basis of the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ.

by Oswald Chambers

Rest for the Soul

When it comes to taking a modern-day Sabbath, not all ways are created equal.

For years, I mistook “checking out of reality” for “rest.” To relax, I would binge-watch Netflix or SportsCenter for an entire afternoon or play video games until that pesky homework from my philosophy class could no longer be avoided. Unfortunately, this never once made me feel rested. In my experience, checking out leads only to a numbing of pain and fatigue from the previous workweek, not true healing or a fuller, more meaningful life.

Resting literally means to be still, to cease from work, or to be held still in a single spot by another object. I find the last part of the definition to be the most fitting with regards to what it means for the Christian to rest. We are held still by something (or rather someone)—the God of the universe.

I knew there had to be a better way to find true rest, and I discovered it in the Christian discipline of biblical meditation. I’d always associated meditation with the Far East, but as the writer of Psalms 1 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (vv. 1-2).

So I began to meditate on the Word of God and the thoughts of great men of faith. It was water to my thirsty soul. I would often ask questions of verses that had long lost their luster and find a new, more beautiful, and rich understanding of what I thought had become trite. Sitting still while allowing my mind to dwell on the things of God brought true rest to my soul.

I discovered that there was another, less conventional way to rest, too. If you’re like me, you sit at a desk for 40-plus hours a week at your job. I’ve found that in order to rest, one of the things I need most is activity. It sounds strange, but it’s true. That’s why the Valentine family takes frequent walks through the park. As my body moves, I find things that were pent up in my heart slowly begin to trickle out. On a few occasions, I’ve broken down in tears during a walk, because God was using the physical release of energy to free my soul from something I hadn’t previously acknowledged. The truth is that we were made to move. If we haven’t been active all week, our bodies are probably filled with angst. It’s in those moments that we need to get up, get out, and find God amid His creation.

As my wife and I have explored what it means to rest, we’ve been reminded of Christ’s words: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). That’s why we ask ourselves, each other, and God, “How do we need to rest this particular day?” Sometimes we just go for a walk. Other days we sit and contemplate the nature of God and existence. And sometimes we do both. It’s not how we seek Sabbath but why that matters.

By resting, we embrace the fact that God has everything under control. We don’t need to work seven days a week, because we trust that God will provide. When we rest, we remind ourselves to enjoy the life He’s given us. So whether you’re called to rest on a Sunday or another day of the week, don’t simply check out of reality to numb yourself for a few scant hours. Instead, embrace the God of the universe for an entire day—not only will you find rest in the One who loves you, but you’ll also discover a life bursting at the seams with energy.

by David Valentine

Living Your Theology

Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you . . . —John 12:35

Beware of not acting upon what you see in your moments on the mountaintop with God. If you do not obey the light, it will turn into darkness. “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23). The moment you forsake the matter of sanctification or neglect anything else on which God has given you His light, your spiritual life begins to disintegrate within you. Continually bring the truth out into your real life, working it out into every area, or else even the light that you possess will itself prove to be a curse.

The most difficult person to deal with is the one who has the prideful self-satisfaction of a past experience, but is not working that experience out in his everyday life. If you say you are sanctified, show it. The experience must be so genuine that it shows in your life. Beware of any belief that makes you self-indulgent or self-gratifying; that belief came from the pit of hell itself, regardless of how beautiful it may sound.

Your theology must work itself out, exhibiting itself in your most common everyday relationships. Our Lord said, “. . . unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). In other words, you must be more moral than the most moral person you know. You may know all about the doctrine of sanctification, but are you working it out in the everyday issues of your life? Every detail of your life, whether physical, moral, or spiritual, is to be judged and measured by the standard of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.

The Purpose of Prayer

. . . one of His disciples said to Him, ’Lord, teach us to pray . . .’ —Luke 11:1

Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

“Ask, and you will receive . . .” (John 16:24). We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is that no one will ever do this until he is at his wits’ end. When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way he can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems— the very things that have brought you to your wits’ end. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.

by Oswald Chambers

Step Up!

[Asa] took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land . . . ; and he restored the altar of the Lord. —2 Chronicles 15:8

When a woodchuck started eating our garage (well, just the trim), I bought a live trap with plans to transplant the little guy to a park. I baited it with an assortment of goodies and opened the trap door. The next morning, I was excited to see a little critter in my trap—until I noticed that it was no woodchuck. I had snared a skunk.

I went online to see how to untrap the skunk without having it . . . well, you know. The solutions were extremely cautious in their descriptions of how to protect yourself while releasing the animal. Plastic bags. Gloves. Tarps. Blankets. Goggles. The task looked daunting and dangerous.

Then my son-in-law Ewing stepped up. He simply walked over to the trap, opened the door, and coaxed our striped friend on its way with a few sprays from the garden hose.

Sometimes our fears can lead to inaction. We worry so much about protecting ourselves that we fail to simply step up. When King Asa learned that the Lord wanted him to remove the idols from Israel, he “took courage” (2 Chron. 15:8). He could have had a rebellion on his hands for doing this. But he stepped up, and as a result the nation rejoiced (v.15).

Facing a spiritual challenge? The Lord will help you step up with courage and trust Him for the outcome. By Dave Branon

Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight,
Foot it bravely, strong or weary;
Trust in God and do the right. —Macleod

Courage is fear that has said its prayers

More Of Him, Less Of Me

I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. —Philippians 3:8

While I was pastoring a church early in my ministry, my daughter Libby asked me, “Dad, are we famous?” To which I replied, “No, Libby, we’re not famous.” She thought for a moment and then said rather indignantly, “Well, we would be if more people knew about us!”

Poor Libby! Only 7 years old and already struggling with what many of us struggle with throughout life: Who recognizes us, and are we getting the recognition we think we deserve?

Our desire for recognition wouldn’t be such a problem if it didn’t tend to replace Jesus as the focus of our attention. But being absorbed with ourselves crowds Him out of the picture.

Life cannot be all about us and all about Jesus at the same time. This makes Paul’s statement that he counted “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ” (Phil. 3:8 esv) strategically important. Faced with a choice between himself and Jesus, Paul intentionally discarded the things that would draw attention to himself so he could concentrate on knowing and experiencing Jesus (vv.7-8,10).

For us, the decision is the same. Will we live to draw attention to ourselves? Or will we focus on the privilege of knowing and experiencing Jesus more intimately? By Joe Stowell

Lord, thank You for reminding me of the
value of knowing You more intimately.
Help me to keep myself out of the way as
I pursue a deeper walk with You.

Do our choices bring honor to God or to us?