VIDEO Glory for Me! – From Sorrow to Joy

I  will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. John 16:22

In February 2019, Cydney Cooper gave birth to twins while her husband, Skyler, was deployed in Kuwait with the U.S. Army. The babies were premature and spent twelve days in the NICU. One day as Cydney cradled one of the newborns in the hospital room, a nurse entered. Behind her came another pair of footsteps—Skyler’s. The video of the surprise reunion went viral, being viewed more than 2.1 million times.

Think of how wonderful we’ll feel when our footsteps tread heaven’s streets. Whether by death or by the Lord’s sudden return, there’s a great reunion ahead of us. Christ’s victory over sin and death gives us an eternal home, and what a celebration awaits us. Charles Gabriel envisioned this reunion when he wrote the hymn, “O That Will Be Glory”—one of the most popular in its day—that said:

When all my labors and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore
Will through the ages be glory for me.

Friends will be there I have loved long ago; joy like a river around me will flow. Charles Gabriel, hymnist


From Sorrow to Joy (John 16:16–22)

 

Something to Brag About

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches.

Jeremiah 9:23

What does it mean to be real? That’s the very big question answered in the small children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit. It’s the story of toys in a nursery and the velveteen rabbit’s journey to become real by allowing himself to be loved by a child. One of the other toys is the old and wise Skin Horse. He “had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by and by break . . . and pass away.” They looked and sounded impressive, but their bragging eventually amounted to nothing when it came to love.

Boasting starts out strong; but in the end, it always fades away. Jeremiah lists three areas where this is evident: “wisdom . . . strength . . . riches” (Jeremiah 9:23). The wise old prophet had been around long enough to know a thing or two, and he countered such boasting with the Lord’s truth: “But let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord” (v. 24).

Let us, the children, brag about God, our good Father. In the unfolding story of His great love, it’s the wonderful way you and I grow to become more and more real.

By John Blase

Reflect & Pray

Think of a person you know who embodies the ability to “boast in the Lord.” What is one way this week you can follow their example?

Father, help me to remember Jeremiah’s words. May my only boasting be in the knowledge of You and Your great love which endures forever.

Growth Through Suffering

1 Peter 1:3-9

Yesterday we saw that when we focus on God, we are in a better position to grow in maturity and godliness. When our suffering persists, the Lord may also have other purposes in mind:

To increase our trust. You might think the happiest people are the wealthy or famous. But the truly contented are those who are at peace with God because their faith has been tested—and they know He has only their good in mind.

To strengthen our dependence upon Him. The apostle Paul testified about how his persistent thorn taught him reliance upon the Lord’s grace and strength (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Instead of believing that we can handle things on our own, we likewise learn to depend more fully on God when our circumstances leave us powerless.

To manifest Christ’s life in us. God wants us to be a living example of the conduct and character of Jesus Christ. For this reason, He uses suffering to sift, sand, and prune whatever doesn’t belong in our life. But in those hard seasons of change, He also sustains us, providing all that we need in order to persevere.

To purify our hearts. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that the pure in heart are blessed, for they will see God (Matt. 5:8). The purification of our heart is an ongoing process. Sometimes it takes difficult situations to identify the things that keep us from delighting in our relationship with God.

Do you trust that God loves you and wants the best for you? Decide to be more open to the work He wants to do in your life through the hard times.

A Double Damnation

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)

Among the eight “woes” in Matthew 23 is this frightening possibility that false teaching will produce double wickedness—a multiplying effect that redounds to terrible consequences. Jesus said that these self-righteous and hate-filled Pharisees were of the devil (John 8:44) and were so intent on resisting the truth that they were ready to kill if they could silence the message of liberty. Paul condemned Elymas the sorcerer as “full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness” (Acts 13:10).

During a great revival in Iconium, “the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren” (Acts 14:2). And they were not content with that. When Paul and his fellow helpers fled to Lystra, the God-hating group from Iconium followed them to Lystra and “persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city” (Acts 14:19).

Make no mistake about this issue; those who hate truth and God will turn their hate against the people of God. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you . . . because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. . . . If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:18-20).

Our country has enjoyed some 250 years of liberty while centered on righteousness. But rising atheistic and secular favor has given boldness to the enemies of truth. May God grant us boldness to speak His Word (Acts 4:29) amidst “many adversaries” (1 Corinthians 16:9). HMM III

Striped Candy Technique

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

—Acts 2:42

Without biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf.

So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped-candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.   MDP135-136

Help me to demonstrate a God so real that no one could ever be bored with Him. Amen.

 

Seek the Lord, and His strength

Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore.—Psalm 105:4.

 

O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,

And all things else recede,

My heart be daily nearer Thee,

From sin be daily freed.

 

Make this poor self grow less and less,

Be Thou my life and aim,

Oh, make me daily, through

Thy grace, More worthy of Thy name.

J. C. Lavater.

 

As, on rising, we should hear Him saying to us, “Take this yoke upon thee, my, child, today, Bear this burden for me and with me today,” so, before retiring to rest, and collecting our mind for our evening prayer, it were well to put these questions to our conscience, “Have I, in a single instance this day, denied myself either in temper or appetite, and so submitted myself to the Savior’s yoke?” And again, “Have I, in a single instance, shown sympathy or considerateness for others, borne with their faults or infirmities of character, given time or taken trouble to help them, or be of use to them?” If so, I have gained ground, I have made an advance in the mind of Christ today, if it be only a single step. Let me thank God, and take courage. A single step is so much clear gain.

Edward Meyrick Goulburn.

 

Perfect Purity

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” Rev. 3:5

Warrior of the cross, fight on! Never rest till thy victory is complete, for thine eternal reward will prove worthy of a life of warfare.

See, here is perfect purity for thee! A few in Sardis kept their garments undefiled, and their recompense is to be spotless. Perfect holiness is the prize of our high calling, let us not miss it.

See, here is joy! Thou shalt wear holiday robes, such as men put on at wedding feasts; thou shalt be clothed with gladness, and be made bright with rejoicing. Painful struggles shall end in peace of conscience, and joy in the Lord.

See, here is victory! Thou shalt have thy triumph. Palm, and crown, and white robe shall be thy guerdon; thou shalt be treated as a conqueror, and owned as such by the Lord Himself.

See, here is priestly array! Thou shalt stand before the Lord in such raiment as the sons of Aaron wore; thou shalt offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and draw near unto the Lord with the incense of praise.

Who would not fight for a Lord who gives such large honors to the very least of His faithful servants? Who would not be clothed in a fool’s coat for Christ’s sake, seeing He will robe us with glory?