America’s 25 Favorite Hymns Album
America’s 25 Favorite Hymns Album
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
In his book Momentum, Daniel Seymour says that when the rate of change outside our institutions exceeds the rate of change inside, we’re in danger of losing ground. Seymour’s book addresses colleges and universities, but we’re all grappling with the implications of change in our society. It’s hard to keep up with the times as our culture refashions itself by the minute, for better or worse. We’re overwhelmed by the pace of change in our technology and even in our churches.
But one thing never changes. Malachi 3:6 says: “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” By the very definition of the word God, our heavenly Father exists from everlasting to everlasting. He is eternal, and His qualities of love, power, justice, and joy never change. Our hope for the future is based on His faithfulness in the past.
If you’re struggling to keep up with changes around you, look to the Lord. Find stability in Him. Live with the Master’s momentum. Let His wisdom guide you through the spinning days, and follow Him at every step. Though all the earth may change and decay, we’re blessed to be able to abide in an eternal God who changes not and whose mercy endures forever.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; / As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Thomas O. Chisholm, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
If God is all-powerful, why do we witness so few miraculous healings? There are many reasons for this. Sometimes we do not ask Him. Other times, we might ask but with wrong motives or a lack of faith. And then there is the reason that we do not like to hear: God may choose not to heal.
Beware of theology that promises healing to anyone who asks. This is not biblical. The problem is not inability; God is able to heal anyone and anything. And be careful if someone claims the lingering illness is the result of sin. This may be true, but often our heavenly Father, in His great love and unfathomable wisdom, allows our ailments to persist.
Consider Paul, who asked the Lord three times to remove his “thorn.” (See 2 Corinthians 12:7-8.) Yet it remained. We can learn from his response—he did not question God’s authority, nor did he complain. Instead, recognizing that divine strength would show through his weakness, Paul trusted God.
We, too, can believe that God will work all things for good in His children’s lives (Romans 8:28). In fact, character growth usually occurs in times of suffering, loss, or hurt. While adversity is uncomfortable, we can feel hope and joy in what our Father is accomplishing through painful times.
Ultimately, God brings glory to Himself and good to His children. There are instances when this involves miraculous healing, but He often refines us by allowing the hardship. As with silver and gold, impurities are usually removed from hearts in the fiery furnace of life’s struggles. Trust God’s plan and rest in His love.
“And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.” (Genesis 15:3-4)
Right after Abram’s meeting with Melchizedek, God verified and amplified His promise to him with the added insights that God would be Abram’s “shield” and “reward” (Genesis 15:1). The preceding years had been somewhat difficult for Abram, and he needed assurance that the One he believed in was both his Savior and Provider.
The Lord walked Abram through an elaborate covenant ceremony (Genesis 15:9-21) in which He told Abram much of the future and reiterated the promise that God would give the land to Abram and his descendants. Given the personal visit, Abram would have been expectant of some indication of the fulfilment of the promise of an heir and the coming “nations,” but it would be a total of 25 years before Abram saw the fulfilment of that promise.
Nothing. No visible evidence of God’s promise was forthcoming. Others failed (Lot most noticeably), and Sarai herself gave up after 11 years and insisted that Abram bear her a child through Hagar, her handmaid (Genesis 16:15).
Finally, when Abram was 99, God appeared before him again and issued the command: “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). Isaac would be born the next year, but the complete fulfillment of that promise is yet to be realized (John 11:25-26; Mark 13:13). HMM III
When the Lord said, “Come,” it was a gracious intimation that he was already in the ark, and meant to be there with his servant. It is also a type of the gospel invitation, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come.”
In Christ, the ark of our salvation, the unclean shall be sheltered as well as the clean. Noah was to bring them in, and such is the privilege of every believer; he is to labour for the saving of the souls of others.
It was wonderful that all these creatures should willingly enter the ark; and it is even more wonderful that sinners of all kinds should be led by sovereign grace to find refuge in. the Lord Jesus. They must come when grace calls.
What a blessed thing for Noah. Those whom God brings into Christ, he takes care to shut in, so that they shall go no more out. God did not shut Adam in Paradise, and so he threw himself out; and we should every one of us get out of Christ, if the Lord had not in mercy closed the door.
It was then too late to look to the ark. Dear friends, may we never put off faith in Jesus until it is too late. It will be an awful thing to find ourselves lost in a flood of wrath, with no eye to pity and no arm to save. Yet so it must be if we neglect the great salvation.
As there was no safety out of the ark, so is there no salvation out of Christ. The Lord grant that every member of this family may flee to Jesus at once, and be saved by faith in him.
Come to the ark, come to the ark,
To Jesus come away:
The floods of wrath are bursting forth,
O haste to Christ, to-day.
Come to the ark, all, all that weep
Beneath the sense of sin:
Without, deep calleth unto deep;
But all is peace within.
Come to the ark, ere yet the flood
Your lingering steps oppose;
Come, for the door which open stood
Is now about to close.
People tend to skip church and stay away from other believers when they get discouraged. Maybe you know someone who has done this. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself at a time in your life when you felt discouraged or depressed.
There are a myriad of reasons why people stay away from church when they are discouraged. Perhaps they’re embarrassed that their faith isn’t working as fast as they think it should. Perhaps they’re ashamed that they’re still struggling with problems they think should have been conquered long ago. They don’t want anyone to know they’re still wrestling with the same old problems, so they disappear from sight.
Don’t let embarrassment or discouragement keep you away from other believers. You need their strength! You need their testimony! You need their encouragement! You need to hear them say, “You can do it! You can make it!”
That’s why Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is….” The word “forsaking” is taken from the Greek word egkatakeipontes. It’s a compound of three different Greek words: eg, kata, and leipo. The first word, eg (actually from the Greek word ek), means out. Kata, the second part of the word, means down. The third word, leipo, means behind. These three words compounded together simply mean out, down, and behind.
These words describe someone who is extremely discouraged, defeated, and depressed. Maybe he feels depressed because it looks like everyone is succeeding but him. Or maybe this is someone who is simply weary from fighting a very long battle. Regardless of the reason why, this word describes a person who feels left out, down, depressed, and far behind everyone else.
The moment people begin to feel like they are failing or falling short of everyone else is often the moment when Satan tells them, “Oh, just stay home from church today. You don’t need to go down there with all those rejoicing people. You know that you don’t feel like being with them today, so why not just stay home by yourself You don’t need them. You can just read the Bible at home!”
Satan knows that if he can get you to fall out of fellowship with other believers—at the very moment when you need fellowship and encouragement the most—then he can probably keep you down and defeated. Yes, it’s true that you can read the Bible at home by yourself, and you need to do this. But fellowship with other believers is essential for everyone, and that includes you! You receive encouragement from other believers that you can’t get anywhere else.
That is why church is the last place the devil wants you to go when you’re feeling low! He knows if you go to church, you will be touched by the Presence of the Lord; you will get encouraged by other believers; and in the end, you’ll crawl out of that hole the enemy has put you in and rise up to a place of heavenly victory!
The devil works overtime to try to tempt you to skip church, stay home, and do something else instead. But, friend, why isolate yourself when you are in the greatest need of encouragement?
Hebrews 10:25 could be translated:
“When you’re feeling down and depressed—like a failure who is falling behind everyone else—that isn’t the time to stay away from other believers, as some are in the habit of doing….”
Instead of letting the devil and your flesh get the best of you in moments of weakness, here’s my suggestion: In addition to praying and reading the Word at home when you’re feeling down and out, go find another believer or a group of believers who can build you up in faith and encourage you in the Lord. After fellowshiping with people of faith, you’ll feel recharged to go back and face those challenges with a winning attitude!
Lord, I ask You to help me push my flesh and my feelings aside when I am tempted to be down and depressed. Your Word promises that I’ll be encouraged if I fellowship with the saints, so I ask You to help me shove my lying emotions out of the way, get out of my house, and stop focusing on my defeat. Give me the strength of will to go attach myself to a band of believers who will encourage me to stand up, stand tall, and fight like someone who has the armor and the power of God working in my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I declare that Satan does not have the power to keep me down and depressed! When life comes against me and the devil tries to tell me that I have no hope of ever getting out of my problems, I run to people of faith so I can get encouraged! I don’t fall out of fellowship, and I don’t stay away from church. I am faithful in my church attendance, and I receive encouragement every time I get in God’s Presence and rub shoulders with the people of God!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Satan knows that if he can get you to fall out of fellowship with other believers—at the very moment when you need fellowship and encouragement the most— then he can probably keep you down and defeated.
After a while, who needs the pressure? Right?
Certainly that is how we feel!! But from the Scriptures it is clearly God’s intention to make pressure an integral part of the Christian’s experience:
“We (believers) must through much pressure enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
The good news is that God is committed to walking with us amidst the pressure, offering us:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall pressure ?… (Nothing) shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37)
“The God of all comfort… comforts us in all our pressures so that we may be able to comfort those who are (under)… any pressure with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God… ” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4)
PEACE AND VICTORY:
“In Me you will have peace. In the world you have pressure , but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
CHARACTER BUILDING AND AN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE:
“We exult in our pressures , knowing that pressure brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3, 4)
So don’t let the pressure get you down! Rather, recognize its character-building qualities. Take life a step at a time… knowing that your loving heavenly Father is walking with you all the way!