VIDEO The Certainty of God – Possibility of Being Saved Preferred to Certainty of Perishing

The Certainty of God

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4

When television meteorologists miss a weather prediction, their only consequence is being ribbed by friends and viewers. But it’s a different story for farmers—their very livelihood depends on being right about the weather.

The primary crop in biblical days was grain—specifically wheat and barley. Those crops were sown and harvested by hand. When it was time to sow grain seeds, a high wind could scatter the seeds before they ever hit the ground, providing patchy coverage in the field. So it was better to sow on a calm day. At harvest time, rain was the enemy. The grain would be cut by hand and lie in the field until it could be bundled and stored. Rain could ruin a harvest laying in the field. A farmer would check the wind and check the clouds and make his best guess as to the approaching weather. A farmer bound by uncertainty would never sow and never reap a harvest.

Life is filled with uncertainty. But that should never keep us from making decisions based on prayer and counsel and trusting God with the outcome. Submit all your uncertainties to the certainty of God’s providence.

Nothing in the world causes so much misery as uncertainty.  Martin Luther


Jonathan Edwards Sermon – Possibility of Being Saved Preferred to Certainty of Perishing

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Love Without Limits

The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9

A wise friend advised me to avoid using the words “you always” or “you never” in an argument—especially with my family. How easy it is to criticize others around us and to feel unloving toward those we love. But there is never any variation in God’s enduring love for us all.

Psalm 145 overflows with the word all. “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made” (v. 9). “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” (vv. 13–14). “The Lord watches over all who love him” (v. 20).

A dozen times in this psalm we are reminded that God’s love is without limit and favoritism. And the New Testament reveals that the greatest expression of it is seen in Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Psalm 145 declares that “the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them” (vv. 18–19).

God’s love for us always endures, and it never fails!

Father in heaven, we are awed by Your love for us that never changes, never fails, and never ends. We praise You for demonstrating Your limitless love for us through Jesus our Savior and Lord.

There is never any variation in God’s enduring love for us all.

By David C. McCasland 

INSIGHT

The book of Psalms, also referred to as the Hebrew Hymnbook, is a collection of 150 songs that were sung by God’s people at various times as part of their worship. Psalm 145 is the last psalm in the final collection of songs penned by David (Psalms 138–145). David proclaims God as the Sovereign King (vv. 1–3, 10–13), exalting His glorious majesty (v. 5) and generous benevolence (v. 7) to all His creation. God’s greatness and goodness is manifested in His mighty acts, wonderful and awesome works, and great deeds (vv. 4–6).

How have you experienced God’s enduring love?

For more about the Psalms, check out our free online course at christianuniversity.org/OT222.

K. T. Sim

Spiritual Gifts Work Together

Romans 12:3-8

Have you ever noticed that people in the church don’t all think the same way? When we become frustrated in our attempts to communicate with a fellow believer, we may begin to wonder whether something is wrong in our spiritual life. After all, aren’t we supposed to be a united body of Christ?

It turns out that the problem could be the result of spiritual gifting. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to every believer for the common good of the church (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). But unless we realize this, we may fail to appreciate the gifts of other believers. Then it’s easy to start harboring the opinion that everyone else should be like us.

For instance, someone with the gift of mercy might judge a believer with exhortation skills to be heartless—the exhorter may appear to value explaining the spiritual benefits of adversity over sympathizing with the hurting person. Yet both gifts are beneficial; used properly, they work together to help a sufferer see there’s hope in the hardship and comfort for endurance.

The root of division over spiritual gifts is self-focus, which can be displayed in two ways. If we think too lowly of our spiritual gift, we may become resentful or feel unimportant. If, on the other hand, we think too highly of our gift, we may believe it’s the most important one.

If you feel at odds with a fellow believer because of your differing approaches to issues in the church, stop and thank the Lord for that person and his gifting. Then pray that he will be used for the good of the fellowship and for God’s own glory.

The Lord is risen indeed

John 20:1-17

John 20:1

She and her companions had inquired, “Who shall roll us away the stone?” and lo, they found it gone. God often removes our difficulties out of the way long before we come to them.

John 20:7

If any had stolen the body by night, they certainly would not have left the grave-clothes, much less have folded them up. Our Lord came forth at his leisure, not as one who breaks his prison, but as a captive lawfully delivered. Jesus has made the grave a furnished chamber for our repose, and the napkin by itself may serve to dry the mourner’s tears.

John 20:8, 9

Though repeated to them so often, they had not seen the real meaning. What need there is of the Holy Spirit’s teaching!

John 20:13

Heaven was rejoicing over the risen Lord, the glad fact was an assurance of joy to earth, why then did this holy woman weep? It was ignorance which kept her in sorrow. If we would learn more of the truth concerning Jesus, we should soon find consolation.

John 20:14, 15

Her love made her feel equal to anything; however ghastly and heavy the burden she would bear it, love would make it light.

John 20:17

There will be time enough for another interview. Do not attempt to detain me, for I am not yet ascended. Go, tell those whom I still love, that I have called them brethren, and desire to see them before I rise into my Father’s glory. Observe the tender love of Jesus, and remember that he has carried the same loving heart to heaven.

 

“Christ, the Lord, is risen to-day!”

Sons of men and angels say!

Raise your joys and triumphs high;

Sing, ye heavens; and earth reply.

 

Love’s redeeming work is done;

Fought the fight, the battle won:

Lo! the sun’s eclipse is o’er;

Lo! he sets in blood no more!

 

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal,

Christ has burst the gates of hell;

Death in vain forbids his rise,

Christ hath open’d paradise.

 

Be Just Plain Faithful

The things that thou hast heard… commit them to faithful men. (2 Timothy 2:2)

I realize that faithfulness is not a very dramatic subject and that many among us in the Christian faith would like to do something with more dash and more flair than just being faithful. While some are just concerned about getting their picture in the paper, I thank God for every loyal and faithful Christian who has only one recognition in mind, and that is to hear their Lord say in that Great Day to come: “Well done, faithful servant… enter into the joy of thy Lord!”

It is plain truth that faithfulness and goodness are at the root of much of the consistent fruit-bearing among the witnessing children of God! Throughout the Bible, the Lord has always placed a great premium on the faithfulness of those who love Him and serve Him.

Noah was faithful in his day. Abraham was faithful in his day. Moses was faithful in his day. And what do we need to say about the faithfulness of our Savior, Jesus Christ? The devil was there with his lies. The world threatened Him all around. But Christ was faithful to His Father and to us!

Are we willing to learn from the Holy Spirit how to be faithful and loving, unselfish and Christlike?

 

Covenant Reaches Children

“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” Gen. 17:7

O Lord, thou hast made a covenant with me, thy servant, in Christ Jesus my Lord; and now, I beseech thee, let my children be included in its gracious provisions. Permit me to believe this promise as made to me as well as to Abraham. I know, that my children are born in sin, and shapen in iniquity, even as those of other men; therefore, I ask nothing on the ground of their birth, for well I know that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh,” and nothing more. Lord, make them to be born under thy covenant of grace by thy Holy Spirit!

I pray for my descendants throughout all generations. Be thou their God as thou art mine. My highest honor is that thou hast permitted me to serve thee; may my offspring serve thee in all years to come. O God of Abraham, be the God of his Isaac! O God of Hannah, accept her Samuel!

If, Lord, thou hast favored me in my family, I pray thee remember other households of thy people which remain unblest. Be the God of all the families of Israel. Let not one of those who fear thy name be tried with a godless and wicked household, for thy Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

 

Need To Know How to Pray?

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)

Jesus promised that “whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you” (John 16:23). This condition for answered prayer and its resulting fullness of joy is not just a formula with which to end a prayer. “In my name” implies representing Him and what He stands for, so that our prayer could truly be His prayer as well.

For example, our prayer must be in His will. “If we ask any thing according to his will . . . we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

We need also to recognize that God’s great purpose in creation is of higher priority than our own personal desires, so this should be of first order in our prayers. Jesus said: “When ye pray, say, Our Father . . . . Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2). We can also pray for our own needs, of course, especially for God to “deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:4), the closing request in His model prayer.

It is good to seek God’s wisdom in all our decisions and undertakings, so that we can be confident we are indeed in His will, but our request for such guidance must be sincere and in willingness to act on His answer. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . . . But let him ask in faith” (James 1:5-6). And it should be obvious that the request be made with a clear conscience before God. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).

But when we are indeed confident that we are praying “in His name” with all that this implies, then we should pray earnestly, for “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16), and when the answer comes—as it will, in God’s time—then our joy indeed will be full! HMM

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