Sky Garden

He looked down from His holy height. Psalm 102:19 nasb

While in London, a friend arranged for my wife Marlene and me to visit the Sky Garden. On the top floor of a thirty-five-story building in London’s business district, the Sky Garden is a glass-encased platform filled with plants, trees, and flowers. But the sky part captured our attention. We gazed down from a height of over 500 feet, admiring St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, and more. Our views of the capital city were breathtaking—providing a helpful lesson on perspective.

Our God has a perfect perspective of everything we experience. The psalmist wrote, “For He looked down from His holy height; from heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to set free those who were doomed to death” (Psalm 102:19–20 nasb).

Like the hurting people pictured in Psalm 102, we are often locked into the present with its struggles, “groaning” with despair. But God sees our lives from beginning to end. Our Lord is never caught off guard by the things that can blindside us. As the psalmist anticipated, His perfect perspective will lead to an ultimate rescue that sets free even those “doomed to death” (vv. 20, 27–28).

In difficult moments, remember: We may not know what is coming next, but our Lord does. We can trust Him with every moment that stretches before us.

For more perspective on the trying seasons of life, read Why? Seeing God in Our Pain at

Focusing on Christ puts everything else into perspective.

By Bill Crowder 


Altitude expands our field of view, not just our perspective. From the heights we can see things that are hidden from us when we are on the ground. This can be an analogy for God’s view of our life. God looks down from the heavens and sees us (Psalm 102:19). His view takes in both time and space; He sees the ends of the earth and the beginning and end of our lives.

How does knowing that God sees everything from beginning to end offer comfort?

J.R. Hudberg

Cultivated Effective Prayer

John 15:7-11

I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t want an effective prayer life. We all long to see the Lord answering our prayers and actively intervening in the concerns and needs we bring before Him, but are we willing to do what’s required? Jesus’ promise of answered prayer is linked with two prerequisites, both found in verse 7 of today’s reading.

“If you abide in Me.” To abide means to remain, dwell, or continue, and according to 1 John 3:24, abiding in Christ is characterized by keeping His commands. Therefore, if we want to pray effectively, we must be committed to obey God in every area of our life. Any rebellion robs us of the wisdom we need in order to pray rightly. It also hinders our fellowship with the Father and keeps Him from hearing and answering our requests.

“And [If] My words abide in you.” We must ask ourselves these questions: Does God’s Word remain, dwell, and continue in me? Am I more preoccupied with talking to God in prayer than with listening to what He’s said in His Word? Scripture is the basis for effective prayer. As we read and meditate upon God’s Word, it convicts us of sin so we can repent and be cleansed. Scripture adjusts our focus from earthly priorities to heavenly ones. It also shapes our thoughts to align with God’s so we’ll know how to pray according to His will instead of ours.

There are no fast and easy shortcuts to a fruitful prayer life. It was meant to develop through a lifestyle of obedience and dedication to the Word. These are cultivated over a lifetime and glorify God by bearing much lasting fruit.

Follow Righteousness with a Pure Heart

“Follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)

The word “follow” is frequently translated “persecute” in other passages. Jesus used the word this way: “The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). The connotation of the Greek term includes a dogged and relentless effort.

Anyone who wants to serve the Lord Jesus faithfully must be determined to pursue righteousness. Those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness” are promised both happiness and fulfillment (Matthew 5:6). Those who seek “first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” have the promise that God will supply all their earthly needs (Matthew 6:33).

Perhaps a quick review of some of the passages that require “pursuit” of a godly lifestyle would be helpful.

  • “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19).
  • Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1).
  • “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
  • “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
  • “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (1 Timothy 6:11).
  • Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

Even this short list should keep all of us on our knees asking both for forgiveness and for strength to obey. HMM III

Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

Acts 2:22-42, 47

Peter having begun to preach, soon came to the marrow of his subject, and testified concerning Jesus.

Acts 2:22-24

This was plain speech. Peter had no fear of man, he pressed the truth home upon the conscience. Pray for all ministers that they may be equally courageous.

Acts 2:29-32

David’s prophecy and the witness of the apostles agreed together; here was convincing evidence for all devout inquirers. Nor was this all, for the miraculous gifts now manifestly bestowed were further proofs of the Messiahship of Jesus. Peter proceeded to dwell upon that argument.

Acts 2:34, 35

David could not have referred to himself, but to one who was his Lord, even to Jesus, now risen and ascended.

Acts 2:37

The concluding words, “Him have ye crucified,” were the sharp hook by which, as a good fisher of men, Peter caught their hearts. The first word of the awakened showed a right feeling; Peter’s love in calling them “men and brethren,” had created love in them, and they, in return, address the despised disciples by the same name. If there are any unconverted ones in this family, may they even now inquire, “What shall we do to be saved?”

Acts 2:40

His gospel was very simple; believing repentance, and baptismal profession were required, and nothing more. This same gospel belonged to their children as well as to themselves.

Acts 2:47

Let us pray that such a state of things may again be seen among the people of God, and let us try to produce it.


Thou art gone up on high,

To mansions in the skies;

And round thy throne unceasingly

The songs of praise arise.


Thou art gone up on high;

But thou wilt come again,

With all the bright ones of the sky

Attendant in thy train.


Forthwith a tongue of fire

Is seen on every brow;

Each heart receives the Father’s light,

The Word’s enkindling glow.


The Holy Ghost on all

Is mightily outpoured,

Who straight in divers tongues declare

The wonders of the Lord.


The Father and the Son,

And Spirit we adore;

Oh, may the Spirit’s gifts be poured

On us for evermore.


What a beautiful sight, when the children of light

In their primitive purity shone!

The disciples of old never strayed from the fold,

But they all were united in one.


The affections of grace were with prayer and with praise

Carried on with their every employ;

Their meals were all blest, and their hearts they expressed

In songs of angelical joy.


Their impotent foes could no longer oppose,

Or withhold their extorted esteem;

But were forced to give place to a torrent of grace,

And were all carried down with the stream.


Our hearts adore the matchless name,

Omnipotent to bless,

The name of Jesus, still the same

Despite our feebleness.


Once in the temple gate we lay

Crippled, till he restored;

But lo, we stand and walk to-day,

Yea, leap to praise the Lord.


All hail, thou dear restoring name,

We will our tongues employ,

To bid the souls which still are lame,

Believe and leap for joy.


Though sinners boldly join against the Lord to rise,

Against his Christ combine, th’ Anointed to despise;

Though earth disdain, and hell engage,

Vain is their rage, their counsel vain.


Jesus the Saviour reigns! on Sion is his throne;

The Lord’s decree sustains his own begotten Son:

Up from the grave he bids him rise,

And mount the skies, with power to save.


Oh, serve the Lord with fear, and rev’rence his command;

With sacred joy draw near, with solemn trembling stand;

Kneel at his throne, your homage bear,

His power declare, and kiss the Son.


Be the matter what it may,

Speak the honest truth alway;

He who lies a pain to waive,

Is at heart a coward slave.


He who speaks with lying tongue

Adds to wrong a greater wrong,

Much provoked is God Most High,

When we dare to tell a lie.


Unaw’d by man’s authority,

Unable to forbear,

What we have seen and heard of thee,

O Lord, we must declare.


The balmy virtue of thy death

We must through life proclaim,

And publish with our latest breath,

Salvation through thy name.


Jesus stands with arms extended,

(Risen from his dazzling throne),

Sees his servants’ warfare ended,

Sends his flaming chariot down,

Smiles triumphant,

Reaches out the palm and crown.


Should he call e’en us t’inherit

Joys for martyr’d saints prepared,

He will fill us with his Spirit,

Pledge of our supreme reward;

Sinking, dying,

We shall view our heavenly Lord.


God’s Eternal Work In And Through Us

The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption. (Romans 8:21)

Is it possible that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ have forgotten that even though we are Christians, we live day by day in unredeemed physical bodies?

Yes, brethren, this is orthodox Christian theology, given us by the Apostle Paul in these words: “Even though we have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption of the body.” These bodies of ours will be redeemed, for that is the promise of God. But in this life they are not yet actually redeemed. That is why we cannot do God’s eternal work ourselves, for only the Holy Spirit of God can bring about His eternal purposes.

If we are to successfully engage in the Christian witness God expects of us while we are here on this earth, we must consciously know and experience the indwelling illumination of the Holy Spirit of God. We must depend upon His gifts and His enduement and His anointing if we hope to cope with the universal blight which is upon mankind.


Seekers, Finders

“If thou seek him, he will be found of thee.” 1 Chron. 28:9

We need our God; He is to be had for the seeking; and He will not deny Himself to any one of us if we personally seek His face. It is not, if thou deserve Him, or purchase His favor, but merely if thou “seek” Him. Those who already know the Lord must go on seeking His face by prayer, by diligent service, and by holy gratitude: to such He will not refuse His favor and fellowship. Those who, as yet, have not known Him to their souls’ rest should at once commence seeking, and never cease till they find Him as their Saviour, their Friend, their Father, and their God.

What strong assurance this promise gives to the seeker! “He that seeketh findeth.” You, yes you, if you seek your God shall find Him. When you find Him you have found life, pardon, sanctification, preservation, and glory. Will you not seek, and seek on, since you shall not seek in vain? Dear friend, seek the Lord at once. Here is the place, and now is the time. Bend that stiff knee; yes, bend that stiffer neck, and cry out for God, for the living God. In the name of Jesus seek cleansing and justification. You shall not be refused. Here is David’s testimony to his son Solomon, and it is the writer’s personal witness to the reader. Believe it and act upon it, for Christ’s sake.


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