VIDEO Infinite Goodness

Infinite Goodness

My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart. Psalm 7:10

 

In 1849, Asiatic cholera spread through America. During the outbreak approximately 4,500 people died in St. Louis, 3,000 in New Orleans, and 5,000 in New York City, where many of them were buried in a mass grave on Randall’s Island. President Zachary Taylor proclaimed a National Day of Fasting, calling Americans to “humble themselves before His throne, and, while acknowledging past transgressions, ask a continuance of the Divine mercy.” He urged them “to acknowledge the Infinite Goodness which has watched over our existence as a nation, and so long crowned us with manifold blessings, and to implore the Almighty in His own good time to stay the destroying hand.”

On Friday, August 3, 1849, Americans filed into churches to unite in humility and prayer; and by the end of the month the death toll “dropped suddenly” and the plague abated.

Our world is stained by sin, filled with suffering, and subject to plagues. But there’s never a time we can’t humble ourselves before God’s throne, acknowledge our sins, and ask for a continuance of divine mercy. His all-powerful hand can preserve and protect us, and His infinite wisdom can direct our affairs. His sovereignty is the source of our strength and stability.

Things work out in our lives, not somehow, but sovereignly. David Jeremiah


The Whetted Sword, Psalm 7 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

Fake News or Truth, How Can You Tell?

 Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all. 1 Thessolonians 5:20-21

“Fake news!” This could well be two of the most politically-charged words in recent weeks in Singapore, as the debate over a proposed law to fight fake news continues. The government believes such a law is needed to curb falsehoods and disinformation, while critics worry over how it might be used and whether it undermines the freedom of speech.

Christians may also be divided over the issue, as there are many nuances, not to mention personal political persuasions, that could affect each person’s view of the issue.

What I find interesting¬, however, is a question that I believe lies at the heart of the issue: Why is it so hard to tell what’s true or not?

It’s a question that comes up not only when we are reading an article or post shared on social media, but also when we hear a “Christian” teaching. Indeed, there are common challenges we face in determining what is true, in both contexts.

One, there’s too much information, which adds to the confusion and makes it even harder to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Two, there’s deception. Long before there were digitally-manipulated photos and videos, the Bible was already warning that “false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

Three, there’re people who are simply misinformed. Not all falsehoods are intentional; some wrong teachings are delivered with the best intentions. Sincerity is no measure of accuracy.

What all this means is that we should do our due diligence in examining what we hear from Bible teacher or any other “godly” source. In fact, the Bible encourages us to put what we are told to the test. Acts 17:10-11, for example, commended the Bereans for checking up on what Paul taught them: “The Berean Jews… received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

As Christians, we are never called to rely on blind faith, but to base our faith on godly knowledge and understanding, which is why God gave us His wisdom, the powers of logic and reasoning, as well as the wonderful privilege to read, check, and discuss His Word openly. In The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, Christian historian Robert Louis Wilken notes that early Christian apologists were happy to debate with philosophers, for “the Bible was a book to be argued from, not simply an authority to brandish when arguments failed”.

I believe that God is never offended when we question what we read and hear about Him, if we are doing it with an honest attitude of seeking to understand Him fully.

But what if we can’t find specific answers in the Bible? I find in 1 Thessolonians 5:20-21 a hint on the position we can take when something remains uncertain: “Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all.”

Perhaps in such times, we have to consider what we learn with care, neither dismissing it entirely nor believing it wholesale. Until we can be sure, I believe we can try putting it “on hold”.

As we grow in spiritual maturity, we will gain the godly wisdom and discernment that enables us to distinguish fake news from godly truth. But we can always be sure of this one truth, the only one that really matters: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). —Leslie Koh

 

Father, help me grow in wisdom and discernment
to know what is Your truth and what is false,
that I may teach, inspire, and encourage others
with this same truth.

 

An Awesome Privilege

Hebrews 7:23-28

Prayer is a truly remarkable privilege, especially considering the Lord’s holiness. How can human beings, who are inherently sinful, dare to approach a holy God whose nature is so flawless and perfect that even a hint of sin is incompatible with His presence? Yet that is exactly what Christians are invited to do—to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace” so they can receive help in times of need (Heb. 4:16).

Although we often take prayer for granted, we should never forget what God did to open this path to His throne. Because He is holy, a blood sacrifice is required to cover sin before anyone can approach Him (Lev. 17:11). In the Old Testament Law, a priest offered animal sacrifices for the cleansing of imperfect people (Lev. 4:1-35; Lev. 5:1-19). However, that was only a temporary solution because, while animal sacrifices covered the sin, they could never wipe it out.

At the cross, God’s Son offered Himself as the only fully sufficient, atoning sacrifice to pay the penalty for sin once for all time. His blood is adequate for the forgiveness of every past, present, and future sin of those who have by faith received His atonement. Now believers are not only forgiven but also welcomed into God’s family as a result of being born again of His Spirit, who indwells them.

One aspect of our new spiritual birth is that we have the privilege of communion with the Father in prayer because the Son is our high priest, eternally covering us in His righteousness. We can rest assured that we always have access to the Creator of the universe, who is sovereign over everything.

There Are Murmurers and Complainers

“These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.” (Jude 1:16)

Jude’s book cites several incidents in the early history of Israel right after they were wonderfully delivered from slavery in Egypt. Within a very short time, they had come through the Red Sea, had bitter water made sweet, seen water come out of a rock, and been fed with “angels’ food” from heaven. Yet when the 12 spies came back from the land of Canaan that had been promised to them, there was a widespread revolt against God and against Moses’ leadership.

The 10 spies who “murmured” against God “died by the plague before the LORD” (Numbers 14:37). Some who had previously sided with the defeatist words of the spies tried to take matters into their own hands and “presumed to go up” to fight against the Canaanites and were killed or scattered (Numbers 14:44-45).

Much of the history of Israel is marked by various ways of turning away from God. Psalm 81 provides a good summary of how God sees this behavior: “I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels” (Psalm 81:10-12).

Jude uses a rather unusual word picture to describe those who use others for their personal advantage. They speak “great swelling words” to gain the association. The Greek word is huperogkos, which conveys something like “beyond weight” or “too heavy.” The words are coming from hearts that are lustful and attempting to manipulate others for their own benefit. It appears that those who “murmur” and “complain” will use “heavy” words to achieve their ends. HMM III

Prophet, Not An Orator

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

—Isaiah 51:16

The Christian minister, as someone has pointed out, is a descendant not of the Greek orator but of the Hebrew prophet.

The differences between the orator and the prophet are many and radical, the chief being that the orator speaks for himself while the prophet speaks for God. The orator originates his message and is responsible to himself for its content. The prophet originates nothing but delivers the message he has received from God who alone is responsible for it, the prophet being responsible to God for its delivery only. The prophet must hear the message clearly and deliver it faithfully, and that is indeed a grave responsibility; but it is to God alone, not to men.   GTM085

Lord, please help me never to rely on my own thoughts or message; give me a word from You as I stand before Your people. Amen.

 

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart.—Psalm 119:111.

 

Girt with the love of God on every side,

Breathing that love as heaven’s own healing air,

I work or wait, still following my Guide,

Braving each foe, escaping every snare.

Horatius Bonar.

 

The Lord preserve us near unto Himself, out of that which separates from Him and weakens; and nothing shall be able to interrupt our joy in the Lord, nor our delight and pleasure in His will.

Isaac Penington.

 

It is easy to make great sacrifices when God does not ask them, but to give up our own will in each detail of life is something far harder. And this is what He does ask. To hold ourselves ever in readiness for His bidding—to count no token of it too slight—such is His call to each. Thus only shall we be ready for further service if He sees fit to lead us on to it.

H. Bowman.

 

To live in the Spirit is the right condition of man, his normal condition; and to live in the Spirit is to live with God—hearing Him, and knowing Him, and loving Him, and delighting to do His will.

Thomas Erskine.

 

The Day Is At Hand

“And I will give him the morning star.” Rev. 2:28

Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, what a blessing it is to see in Jesus “the morning star”! I remember when we read in the newspapers the idle tale that the star of Bethlehem had again appeared. On inquiry we found that it was only “the morning star”; but no great mistake had been made after all.

It is best to see Jesus as the sun; but when we cannot do so, the next best thing is to see Him as that star which prophesies the day, and shows that the eternal light is near at hand. If I am not today all that I hope to be, yet I see Jesus, and that assures me that I shall one day be like Him. A sight of Jesus by faith is the pledge of beholding Him in His glory and being transformed into His image. If I have not at this hour all the light and joy I could desire, yet I shall have it; for as surely as I see the morning star I shall see the day. The morning star is never far from the sun.

Come, my soul, has the Lord given thee the morning star? Dost thou hold fast that truth, grace, hope, and love which the Lord has given thee? Then in this thou hast the dawn of coming glory. He that makes thee overcome evil, and persevere in righteousness, has therein given thee the morning star.