VIDEO Sovereign Over Us

April 21, 2014

Music video by Michael W. Smith performing Sovereign Over Us.

(C) 2014 The MWS Group under exclusive license to Sparrow Records

The Answer Is Jesus

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us … that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14

A middle school teacher recently shared some of the answers he received from students on assignments. One student said, “The pistol of a flower is its only protection against insects.” Another thought the word germinate meant to “become a naturalized German citizen” and that a vacuum was where the pope lived. A fibula, said another student, is a small lie; and a terminal illness is what happens when you get sick at the airport.

Job had a lot of questions, but he and his friends kept getting their answers mixed up. But on the final exam, Job got it right when he said, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25).

All our great and confusing questions can be answered in our living Redeemer. If you’re suffering, He can ease your pain. If you’re confused, He can clear your mind. If you’re fearful, He can give you peace. If you have bad habits, He can help you conquer them. If you struggle with guilt, He can forgive your sins. If you’re afraid of death, He can give you eternal life.

Our Redeemer is the answer to all the questions in our hearts.

I know that my Redeemer lives; / What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
Samuel Medley in the hymn, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”

The Storms of Life

Genesis 50:15-21

When life gets hard, we tend to get upset and wonder how soon the difficulty will end. But God wants us to focus on Him in times of trouble. As we do, we will discover that He is doing important spiritual work during these “storms.”

Beliefs. The Bible contains what we need to know about our life in Christ. When circumstances are beyond our control, what we really believe will surface. The depth of our faith in God’s character and promises will become evident, as will any doubts or uncertainties we may have. For example, Joseph revealed strong belief when he acknowledged that God intended his hardships for his good (Gen. 50:20). There will be times when we don’t succeed—like Peter, whose fear led to denying Christ (John 18:25-27)—but we should think of trials as opportunities to grow and deepen our faith.

Transformation. As God’s children, we are to live our lives in a way that displays Christ’s character. But we are more like jewels in the rough, aren’t we? The heavenly Father can use the storms of life to transform us into His Son’s image.

Comfort. This blessing is not only for us but also for others. Our Father comforts us in our sufferings and asks that we share what we have received with other people (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Difficult times can come from our own mistakes, the schemes of the enemy, or the hurtful actions of others. They can even be ordained by God. Regardless of the source, our Father works in them to benefit us and to bless others. What testimony about Him can you give to a hurting world?

The Behemoth

“Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. . . . He is the chief of the ways of God.” (Job 40:15, 19)

Whatever this animal was, it was not small! The Hebrew word has merely been transliterated rather than translated. Some Bible margins suggest that the writer of the book really meant elephant or that the Hebrew word is derived from the Egyptian term for hippopotamus.

But the description given by God Himself does not illustrate an animal that you and I would be familiar with. Look carefully at God’s narrative in Job 40:15-24.

-Behemoth is a land animal whose normal habitat is in wetlands.
-The creature is a vegetarian, with grazing habits similar to an ox.
-This animal is very large, with strong hips and power in the stomach muscles.
-When the tail moves, it is like a cedar tree.
-The bones are like “strong pieces of brass,” and the ribs are like “bars of iron.”
-Behemoth is so large and so placid a beast that a raging river or an attempt to pierce its nose does not rile it.
-God names behemoth the “chief of the ways of God.”

This information is passed on to us by God Himself. Job needs to understand how small and insignificant he really is when compared to the majestic wild creatures on the one hand and the omniscient and omnipotent Creator on the other.

No wonder Job concludes: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). HMM III

Adapted from Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis by Dr. Henry Morris III.

Suffering From Spiritual Suffocation?

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Romans 5:20)

How can I illustrate man’s proneness to spiritual suffocation?

I have read that mining companies used to take live caged birds deep into the mines to detect the presence of dangerous gases. If there was a high concentration of poison, the bird would quickly fall down and die in the bottom of the cage.

I consider a bird a miracle created by God; a wonder with wings, created to soar over green meadows and breathe the sweet air of the heavens. But take him underground where there is blackdamp and pollution and he quickly dies of suffocation!

You can apply that also to the soul of man!

God created man a living soul and intended him to rise and mount up into the eternities and live with God. There is in each of us a longing after immortality. But sin has ruined us. We have listened to that serpent, the devil. We have gone down into the isolated, dark poison-infested pockets of the world, and lost men are dying everywhere of spiritual suffocation!

The Remains

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath me seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead. —Revelation 3:1

I think we are going to have to restudy this whole teaching of the place of the Holy Spirit in the Church, so the Body can operate again. If the life goes out of a man’s body, he is said to be a corpse. He is what they call “the remains”…. All the remains of the man, and the least part about him, is what you can see there in the funeral home. The living man is gone. You have only the body. The body is “the remains.”

So it is in the Church of Christ. It is literally true that some churches are dead. The Holy Spirit has gone out of them and all you have left are “the remains.” You have the potential of the church but you do not have the church, just as you have in a dead man the potential of a living man but you do not have a living man. He can’t talk, he can’t taste, he can’t touch, he can’t feel, he can’t smell, he can’t see, he can’t hear—because he is dead! The soul has gone out of the man, and when the Holy Spirit is not present in the Church, you have to get along after the methods of business or politics or psychology or human effort.

May we cease to simply go through the motions without true life. Infuse us with
Your Spirit, Father, that the Church might live! Amen.

Whole-heartedness shows itself in perseverance

Whole-heartedness shows itself in perseverance; there may be failure at first, but the earnest worker will say, “It is the Lord’s work, and it must be done; my Lord has bidden me do it, and in His strength I will accomplish it.” Christian, art thou thus “with all thine heart” serving thy Master? Remember the earnestness of Jesus! Think what heart-work was His! He could say, “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.” When He sweat great drops of blood, it was no light burden he had to carry upon those blessed shoulders; and when He poured out His heart, it was no weak effort He was making for the salvation of His people.