Nov 8, 2014
Jesus, Hope Of The World · Paul Tate
Nov 8, 2014
Jesus, Hope Of The World · Paul Tate
Look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
The phone rang in the night for my husband, a minister. One of the prayer warriors in our church, a woman in her seventies who lived alone, was being taken to the hospital. She was so ill that she was no longer eating or drinking, nor could she see or walk. Not knowing if she would live or die, we asked God for His help and mercy, feeling particularly concerned for her welfare. The church sprang into action with a round-the-clock schedule of visitors who not only ministered to her but showed Christian love to the other patients, visitors, and medical staff.
James’s letter to the early Jewish Christians encouraged the church to care for the needy. James wanted the believers to go beyond just listening to the Word of God and to put their beliefs into action (1:22–25). By citing the need to care for orphans and widows (v. 27), he named a vulnerable group, for in the ancient world the family would have been responsible for their care.
How do we respond to those who are at risk in our church and community? Do we see caring for the widows and orphans as a vital part of the exercise of our faith? May God open our eyes to the opportunities to serve people in need everywhere.
Father God, Your heart beats for the vulnerable and for those who are alone. Help us to love Your people as You love them, for we are made in Your image.
True faith demands not only our words, but our actions.
By Amy Boucher Pye
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
The first battle between faith and reason took place in the Garden of Eden. Spurred on by the serpent’s lies, Eve began to look at her situation from a purely logical perspective and decided that God was cheating her out of something good. Her faith faltered as “reasonable” thoughts of self-interest filled her mind (Gen. 3:4-6).
I am not saying that the way of faith is never logical, but if we operate only on the basis of reason, a conflict with the Lord is inevitable. That is because His instructions and actions don’t always appear reasonable from a human perspective. Although Isaiah 55:8-9 describes God’s thoughts and ways as higher than man’s, some people believe they know better than He does.
Paul emphasizes this by pointing out that God’s choices can come across as illogical by the world’s standards—His message of salvation seems foolish, and His messengers appear weak and unimpressive (1 Cor. 1:20-21). In an age that thrives on recognition, admiration, and importance, a person who believes the Bible is considered a weakling in need of a religious crutch to cope with life. But God’s Word explains the paradox: Recognizing their helplessness, believers lean on Christ so He can raise them to stand with Him in righteousness.
That day in Eden, sin and self-importance entered the human heart. But all the worldly wisdom that fuels our pride is nullified by God. He is looking not for great and impressive people but for weak, humble servants who can boast only in Christ. The Savior alone is their strength and wisdom.
“The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.” (Numbers 6:25)
This request is part of the well-known Mosaic benediction for the children of Israel (Numbers 6:24-27). The first occurrence in verb form of the word “shine” is in this verse, although in the noun form, translated as “light,” it appears in the third verse of the Bible when God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).
True light comes only from God, since “God is light” (1 John 1:5). As the world depends on the sunshine for its physical life, so we continually must receive the Son’s shining in our hearts to sustain our spiritual life.
It is noteworthy that the prayer of our text occurs seven other times in the Scriptures. These are as follows:
“Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 31:16); “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah” (Psalm 67:1); “Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:19; also vv. 3, 7); “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes” (Psalm 119:135); “O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake” (Daniel 9:17).
Since God, in His omnipotence, dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16), He shines on us for salvation, spiritual illumination, and daily guidance only through His Son, the Word made flesh, for “in him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. —John 3:17
Without worship we go about miserable; that’s why we have all the troubles we have. You wonder why young people act like such idiots. Some young people have a lot of energy and don’t know what to do with it, so they go out and act like idiots; and that’s why gangsters and communists and sinners of all kinds do what they do. They are endowed by God Almighty with brilliant intelligence and an amazing store of energy, and because they don’t know what to do with it they do the wrong thing. That’s why I’m not angry with people when I see them go off the deep end, because I know that they have fallen from their first estate along with Adam’s brood and all of us together. They haven’t been redeemed and so they have energy they don’t know what to do with; they have capacity they don’t know how to use. They have skills and don’t know where to put them, and so they go wild and police have to arrest sixteen-year-olds and put them in jail. If they had been taught that they came into the world in the first place to worship God and to enjoy Him forever and that when they fell Jesus Christ came to redeem them, to make worshipers out of them, they could by the Holy Ghost and the washing of the blood be made into worshiping saints and things would be so different.
Lord, it’s so easy to condemn people who “act like such idiots.” Thank You that in
Your grace You don’t condemn, but reach out to save! Amen.
Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. (Isaiah 26:12)
What a difference it makes when we humans cease being general and become pointed and personal in our approach to God! We then come to see that all that God did was for each of us.
It was for me that holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. For me Christ die — and when He arose on the third day it was for me. When the promised Holy Spirit came it was to continue in me the work He had been doing for me, since the morning of the Creation!
So, I have every right to claim all of the riches of the Godhead in mercy given. What a blessed thought—that an infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children!
He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.
All that He is and all that He has done is for us and for all who share the common salvation.
Many in waiting upon the Lord find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. A deeper sense of sin may be given to you instead of a sense of pardon, and in such a case you will have need of patience to bear the heavy blow. Ah! poor heart, though Christ beat and bruise thee, or even slay thee, trust him; though he should give thee an angry word, believe in the love of his heart. Do not, I beseech thee, give up seeking or trusting my Master because thou hast not yet obtained the conscious joy which thou longest for. Cast thyself on him, and perseveringly depend even where thou canst not rejoicingly hope.