VIDEO Come the Morning 1993

Aug 24, 2014

 

Come the Morning is another movie from Billy Graham’s production company. It stars Susan Howard as a woman who travels with her two children to Los Angeles to reunite with their father. He’s hard to find and soon they end up homeless in the streets.

 

Don’t Give Up

 

 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Bob Foster, my mentor and friend for more than fifty years, never gave up on me. His unchanging friendship and encouragement, even during my darkest times, helped carry me through.

We often find ourselves determined to reach out and help someone we know who is in great need. But when we fail to see improvement right away, our resolve can weaken and we may eventually give up. We discover that what we hoped would be an immediate change has become an ongoing process.

The apostle Paul urges us to be patient in helping one another through the stumbles and struggles of life. When he writes, “Carry each other’s burdens” and so “fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), he is comparing our task to the work, time, and waiting it takes for a farmer to see a harvest.

Father in heaven, we ask for hope and perseverance to continue reaching out to others.

In prayer we call on God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20

INSIGHT:We may be hesitant about allowing ourselves to start feeling the pain of those around us. So did Paul lead us into more than we can handle when he urged us to reach out to the needs of others? (Gal. 6:9). Let’s put his words in context. In the previous chapter he wrote extensively about the importance of living with a sense of liberty (5:1). He didn’t see love as a matter of duty and bondage; rather, life in the Spirit is a life of care and concern for others, enabled by the Spirit.

So are we having cold feet about the implications of being warmhearted? If so, maybe we need to accept those natural fears. But in the freedom of the Spirit we can learn to act out of our own heart rather than out of duty; we can act out of the grace God generously gives us to care for others (6:4–5).

The Enemy of Security

1 John 5:1-9

Sin can shake our faith in eternal security. God promised that anyone who believes Jesus Christ died on the cross for his or her sin will live forever in heaven (John 6:40). But because unconfessed sin creates a barrier between the Lord and the believer, it short-circuits faith and assurance.

When a believer confesses wrongdoing, the Father forgives and cleanses His child (1 John 1:9). But by failing to admit to sin, a Christian will experience estrangement from God. He or she may feel unworthy of the Father’s love and can even struggle with a sense of rejection. Ask people in this situation if they are certain about their eternal future, and you’ll probably hear, “I used to be.” Sometimes they will go so far as to tell me that they are no longer saved—but that is impossible. While we can lose our assurance, we can never lose our salvation or our place in heaven.

Too often, people mistake the Lord’s chastening hand for confirmation of their lost condition. “God wouldn’t put me through this if I were saved,” they’ll say. Actually, the opposite is true. The heavenly Father disciplines those He loves, so correction is proof that we are His children (Heb. 12:6-7). Chastisement is His way of guiding the wayward believer back into fellowship with Him.

Jesus is our advocate before God. Like ancient Israel’s high priests who offered blood sacrifices, He atoned for our sins by His own death on the cross. We can’t sin our way out of His grace. The minute we confess our wrongdoing, estrangement dissipates and assurance comes flooding back into our hearts.

The Spirit and the Word

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)

As we see in our text, the Holy Spirit indwells every one who is a true believer, a child of God. Each believer is born again through “the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21), for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

But the role of the Spirit of God and the Word of God in our salvation only begins the Christian’s relationship to them, for we are enjoined to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) in the same sense that a drunkard is filled with and controlled by wine, and to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). These two entities equip us to be effective representatives of Him here on Earth.

Note, however, that in both of these passages the immediate results of such controlling input are the same. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms [primarily the Old Testament psalms] and hymns [songs of praise directed to God] and spiritual songs [a generic word for song, but here ‘spiritual’ songs], singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19), and “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). A Spirit-filled Christian, knowledgeable in the Word, just can’t quit singing!

Nor can he stop “giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20; see also Colossians 3:17).

May we always manifest the work of the Spirit and the knowledge of the Word by our thankful hearts and the songs on our lips. JDM

Charity envieth not.

Numbers 12:1-15

Numbers 12:1

Jealousy of his power was at the bottom of their complaining. How good a man Moses must have been when even those who knew him best could find no fault with him except that he had married a foreign lady, against whom they had nothing to allege but that she was an Ethiopian.

Numbers 12:2

Moses must have felt the jealousy of his brother and sister very keenly, but he did not fight his own battle, he left the matter to God, who observed with indignation the wanton envy of the ungenerous pair.

Numbers 12:3

Some other hand has inserted this verse under divine direction. Moses would not have said it of himself, but the Lord took care that somebody else should record it, for he honours those who honour him. As Moses was meek he did not strive for himself, and therefore the Lord became his champion.

Numbers 12:4

The suddenness of the interference marks the importance of the matter, and the Lord’s anger concerning it.

Numbers 12:8

Aaron had been faulty in the matter of the golden calf, and therefore he ought to have been very quiet, and Miriam’s sex should have sufficed to make her modest; yet, envy thrust both these good persons into a bad spirit, and then into a false and sinful position. Above all things, let us shun envy, for it is cruel as the grave. If God chooses to make other men greater and more honourable than ourselves, what right have we to question his prerogative?

Numbers 12:9

This was the surest token of his anger. His presence is heaven, his absence misery to his children.

Numbers 12:10

If Aaron had been made a leper he could not have executed his office; but Miriam’s disease was a punishment to both, and possibly she had also been the chief offender.

Numbers 12:11-13

Miriam wounded Moses with her tongue, and now Moses uses his tongue to cry, “Heal her now, O God.” This is the true way to heap coals of fire on the heads of those who injure us. We must pray for those who despitefully use us.

Numbers 12:14

Incases of extreme provocation an eastern father would spit in his child’s face, and then the child was banished from the father’s presence for seven days: how much more then should Miriam be shut out of the camp for awhile when she had so grossly offended, and against the Lord, and had received so terrible a mark of the divine displeasure.

Numbers 12:15

This shewed their respect for her, and their grief at her sickness.

 

The Day the Veil Was Rent And the Earth Shook

Matthew 27:50, 51

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record that on the day Jesus was crucified, the sky turned eerily dark at the sixth hour of the day Matthew 27:45 says, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.”

Notice the choice of words Matthew uses to describe this event. First, he says that “there was darkness.” The words “there was” are from the Greek word ginomai, which describes an event that slowly crept up on them before they knew what was happening. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the clouds started rolling over the land, becoming darker and darker until finally an ominous, dark gloom filled the entire sky and loomed over the landscape. The word “dark” is the Greek word skotos, used all over the New Testament to depict something very dark.

Verse 45 says that this sudden and unexplainable darkness covered all the “land.” The word “land” is the word ges, the Greek word for the earth, and it refers to the entire earth, not just a small geographical region. The Greek word ges emphatically tells us that the whole world literally became simultaneously darkened.

The historians Phlegon, Thaddus, and Julius Africanus all referred to the darkness that covered the earth at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Critics of the Bible have attempted to explain away this supernatural darkness by alleging that it was due to an eclipse of the sun. This is impossible, however, for the Passover occurred at the time of a full moon.

The Bible informs us that the darkening of the sky started at the sixth hour (see Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:45). This is significant, for the sixth hour (noontime) was the very moment that the high priest Caiaphas, arrayed in his full priestly garments, began the procession in which he would enter the temple to slaughter a pure, spotless Passover lamb. This darkness that covered the land lasted until the ninth hour—the exact moment the high priest would be making his entrance into the Holy of Holies to offer the blood of the Passover lamb to cover the sins of the nation.

It was at this moment that Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). As He heaved upward to breathe for the last time, Jesus gathered enough air to speak forth a victory shout! His assignment was complete! After proclaiming those words with His last ounce of strength, Matthew 27:50 tells us that He “… yielded up the ghost.”

What Matthew tells us next is simply amazing. He writes, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom….” The word “behold” is the Greek word idou. This is a very difficult word to translate, for it carries such intense feeling and emotion. The King James Version most often translates this word as behold. But in our contemporary world, it might be better rendered, Wow!

This word idou carries the idea of shock, amazement, and wonder. It’s almost as if Matthew says, “Wow! Can you believe it? The veil of the temple itself rent in twain from top to bottom!” Matthew wrote about this event many years after the fact, yet he was still so dumbfounded by what happened that day that he exclaimed in effect, “Wow! Look what happened next!”

There were two veils inside the temple—one at the entrance to the Holy Place and a second at the entrance to the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest was allowed to pass through the second veil once a year. That second veil was sixty feet high, thirty feet wide, and an entire handbreadth in thickness! One early Jewish writing states that the veil was so heavy, it took three hundred priests to move or manipulate it. It would have been impossible humanly speaking to tear such a veil.

At the exact moment Jesus was breathing His last breath on the Cross at Golgotha, Caiaphas the high priest was standing at his station in the inner court of the temple, preparing to offer the blood of a spotless Passover lamb. At the very instant Caiaphas stepped up to kill the Passover sacrifice, Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished!” At that same instant, miles away from Golgotha inside the temple at Jerusalem, an inexplicable, mystifying supernatural event occurred. The massive, fortified veil that stood before the Holy of Holies was suddenly split in half from the top all the way to the bottom!

The sound of that veil splitting must have been deafening as it ripped and tore, starting from the top and going all the way down to the floor. It was as if invisible, divine hands had reached out to grab it, rip it to shreds, and discard it.

Imagine how shocked Caiaphas must have been when he heard the ripping sounds above his head and then watched as the veil was torn in half, leaving two sides of the once-massive curtain lying collapsed to his right and his left. Just think what must have gone through this evil high priest’s mind when he saw that the way to the Holy of Holies was opened—and that God’s Presence was no longer there!

You see, when Jesus was lifted up on that Cross, that Cross became the eternal mercy seat on which the blood of the final sacrifice was sprinkled. Once that sacrifice was made, it was no longer necessary for a high priest to continually make sacrifices year after year, for Jesus’ blood had now settled the issue forever!

For this cause, God Himself ripped the veil of the temple in half, declaring that the way to the Holy of Holies was now available to everyone who came to Him through the blood of Jesus! This is why the apostle Paul wrote that Jesus “… hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Ephesians 2:14).

Jesus’ death was such a dramatic event that even the earth reacted to it. Matthew 27:51 says, “… the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.” The word “earth” is the word ges, the same word seen in verse 45 (see above) that describes the whole earth. The word “quake” is the Greek word seiso, which means to shake, to agitate, or to create a commotion. It is where we get the word for a seismograph, the apparatus that registers the intensity of an earthquake. It is interesting to note that Origen, the early Christian leader, recorded that there were “great earthquakes” at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

I find it so amazing that although Israel rejected Jesus and the Roman authorities crucified Him, creation always recognized Him! During His life on this earth, the waves obeyed Him; water turned to wine at His command; fishes and bread multiplied at His touch; the atoms in water solidified so He could walk across it; and the wind ceased when He spoke to it. So it should come as no surprise that Jesus’ death was a traumatic event for creation. The earth shook, trembled, and shuddered at the death of its Creator, for it instantly felt its loss.

The earth shuddered so violently when Jesus died that even “… the rocks rent….” The word “rocks” is petra, referring to large rocks. The other word that could have been used for “rocks” is the word lithos, which meant small stones. But Matthew tells us that huge, large rocks were “rent” by the shaking of the earth. The word “rent” is schidzo, meaning to rend, to tear, to violently tear asunder, or to terribly fracture. This was a serious earthquake! It makes me realize all over again the incredible significance of the death of Jesus Christ!

When Jesus’ blood was accepted at the Cross as final payment for man’s sin, the need to habitually offer sacrifices year after year was eliminated. The Holy of Holies, a place limited only to the high priest once a year, has now become open and accessible to all of us! As “believer-priests,” each of us can now enjoy the Presence of God every day. This is why Hebrews 10:19, 22 says, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus…. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience….”

Since the way to the Holy of Holies has been thrown wide open to us, we need to take a few minutes each day to enter into the Presence of God to worship Him and to make our requests known. Because of what Jesus did, we can now “… come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Since this is God’s promise to us, let’s drop everything we’re doing and come boldly before that throne of grace for a few minutes today!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for destroying the veil that separated me from Your Presence. By taking away the veil, You made it possible for me to come boldly before Your throne of grace to obtain mercy and receive help in my time of need. Because of what You did for me, today I am coming boldly to tell You what I need in my life. I present my case to You, and I thank You in advance for helping me just as You promised in Your Word.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I have a God-given right to come directly into the Presence of God. Jesus removed the wall of separation—and because of what He did, I have no reason to feel unworthy or beggarly when I come before the Lord. Indeed, I am washed by the blood of Jesus, and God beckons me to come to Him with confident expectation. Therefore, I boldly come and make my requests known to God, and He answers me when I pray.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. When you come to God in prayer, do you feel bold and courageous or afraid and ashamed?
  2. Is there any sin in your life that is causing you to avoid coming into God’s Presence every day? Be honest!
  3. What is that one request you would like God to give you if you could go to Him and make your request today? Why don’t you go ahead and make your request, because God is just waiting for you to ask Him!

 

On Creating One’s Own Ideology… Rewriting One’s Own Values

Decades ago, C. S. Lewis penned this somber warning:

 

“The diseases that will certainly end our species… if it is not crushed, (is) the fatal superstition that men can create values; that a community can choose its ‘ideology’ as men choose their clothes.”

 

We as a nation have done exactly what C. S. Lewis warned against. Reminiscent, is it not, of Israel’s condition in her depravation:

 

In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 17:6)

 

And as a result, America today is facing a crisis of values of monumental proportions. Some observers are terming it a “Civil War” of values.

 

Tragically, this deterioration of values has profoundly impacted your lost associates: Most of them sense that there is something terribly wrong in the Land. But because they are generally lacking in a Biblical perspective, they have scant idea how we as a People got to this point, much less how they can personally escape from it.

 

Let me ask you a question: “As a believer in Christ, are you also writing and embracing your own brand of Christian valuesyour own ideology, that conveniently accommodates your quest for personal freedom?”

 

If the answer is “yes,” then your lost friends are being deprived of observing in you two important realities that a life of obedience to Christ would have revealed:

 

(1) The magnitude of their lostness, and

 

(2) The fact that there is a way out of their life of bondage.

 

In this age of disintegrating values, may I urge you to respond to Paul’s passionate challenge:

 

That you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life… ” (Philippians 2:15b-16a)

 

 

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