VIDEO Tears In Jerusalem

 

 

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2

Making Aliyah—going up to Jerusalem—describes the modern immigration of Jews from all over the world back to Israel, a movement that began in the 1880s. Several million Jews have made Aliyah, many weeping for joy upon seeing Jerusalem for the first time. The same thing happened in 1967 when battle-hardened Israeli soldiers took control of Jerusalem and saw the Western Wall of the Temple Mount for the first time, weeping at the sight of this most-holy place to Jews.

As precious as geographic Jerusalem is to Jews as the former dwelling place of God on earth in the temple, a new Jerusalem is coming—more holy, more beautiful, and the eternal dwelling place of God on the new earth. It will be the centerpiece of “heaven,” the location of the dwelling place Jesus said He was going to prepare for those who follow Him in faith (John 14:1-3).

Scripture says there will be no tears of sorrow in heaven (Revelation 21:4)—only joyful celebrations worshiping the Lamb who died for our sin.

Those who have the new Jerusalem in their eye must have the ways that lead to it in their heart.   Matthew Henry


66 Revelation 21-22 – J Vernon Mcgee – Thru the Bible

Election Fever on My Mind

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Psalm 146:3

 

I’ve always thought of myself as a “rational voter”. Instead of being swayed by election rhetoric and controversies, I’ve always tried to focus on what I believe should ultimately win my vote: who can do a better job. (And I really mean this in a neutral sense, so please don’t try to guess my inclination!)

So it was a shock to me when I found myself wavering during a recent conversation with a friend. As we were discussing some of the people being fielded by the various political parties, I found myself saying things like, “Oh, I can’t stand him. I’d never vote for him.”

Suddenly, it seemed, my vote depended purely on the personality of the candidate—and not his capability, that of his party, or even his stand on issues. After all that deep discussion about who could do a better job in parliament, I could well end up voting for a face that I simply liked—or against one I didn’t.

Of course, it’s hard to get away from such thoughts, given that politics is all about people. After all, it’s about getting the right people to lead other people to make people’s lives better. The problem is, all of us are not immune to sin, failings, flaws, and mistakes.

And it’s not just the people standing for election; voters are equally susceptible. Some have joked that our vote can sometimes be swung one way or the other by which side of the bed we woke up.

The Bible is full of good leaders who were men after God’s heart and who had sincerely sought to obey and be faithful to their calling. Yet many of them tripped up at some point. If David, Moses, Elijah, or Peter had been campaigning at their points of failure, they would have lost my vote.

Not that their followers were any less vulnerable. The Israelites were prone to switching allegiances between kings, prophets, and leaders, and even faster to turn away from God.

No wonder Elijah once scolded the Israelites: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). And the psalmist observed in Psalm 146:3: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.”

The same psalm went on to compare man’s unreliability and fickleness with the sovereignty and faithfulness of God:

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever…
The LORD reigns for ever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
(Psalm 146:6, 10)

Only God is truly righteous, reliable, and unchanging. We can rest in the rock-solid truth that He is sovereign and in control over all that happens.

The reality is, ultimately, both voters and leaders are far from perfect. As we continue to listen to the campaigns, make our decisions, and head to the polls, may we always look to God, knowing that He rules us all in His righteousness and sovereignty. May we learn to look beyond people and personalities, and seek to do what is right in His eyes. —Leslie Koh

 

Lord, help us to decide wisely and rightly
as we continue looking to You for guidance,
knowing You are in control of our nation.

Stick With A God We Can Trust

Exodus 32:1-14

Many believers worry that God might reject them if they sin too much, fail to read the Bible daily, or displease Him in some other way. But our salvation and trust in God is based upon His unchanging character.

The false notion that God would reject a person He has saved springs from a simplistic view of His nature. We tend to attribute one emotion to God at a time–for example, we might assume He is either angry or loving. In reality, the Father’s nature is far more complex than that. Think about our own simultaneous emotions: Just as we can love a child unconditionally while feeling upset over his or her actions, God can too—but with omniscience and perfect motives. And remember, the righteous anger that led Him to threaten the Israelites with punishment did not replace His care for them.

Some people point to passages like today’s reading to try to prove that God changes His mind, and therefore He could reconsider what He’s promised us. But God knew Moses would intercede for the people, just as He knows when we will fall short of His standards for righteousness. The Father rescued us from death anyway and refuses to turn His back on His children for any reason. The immutability of His nature means that God will love us forever, even when we fail.

The Songs in the Night

“Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” (Psalm 42:7-8)

There are times in the life of a believer when he seems about to sink under great avalanches of trouble and sorrow. But then “I call to remembrance my song in the night” (Psalm 77:6), and God answers once again. In the book of Psalms, the theme of conflict and suffering is prominent, but always there is also the note of hope and ultimate triumph.

The very first psalm, for example, notes the conflict of the righteous with the ungodly but promises that “the way of the ungodly shall perish” (v. 6). The second psalm foretells the final rebellion of the heathen against God and His anointed but assures us that God will “vex them in his sore displeasure” (vv. 2, 5). In Psalm 3, the believer says: “Many are they that rise up against me.” But then he remembers that “salvation belongeth unto the LORD” (vv. 1, 8). He cries in Psalm 4: “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer” (v. 1).

In Psalm 5, immediately after the first imprecation in the psalms (“cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions”) occurs the first specific mention of singing in the book of Psalms: “Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout [literally ‘sing’] for joy, because thou defendest them” (vv. 10-11).

The Lord Jesus and His disciples sang a psalm even as they went out into the night of His betrayal and condemnation (Mark 14:26). This is His gracious promise: “Ye shall have a song, as in the night.…And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard” (Isaiah 30:29-30). HMM

Missing the Supernatural Afflatus

And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

—Luke 24:49

 

Where adequate power is present almost any means will suffice, but where the power is absent not all the means in the world can secure the desired end. The Spirit of God may use a song, a sermon, a good deed, a text or the mystery and majesty of nature, but always the final work will be done by the pressure of the inliving Spirit upon the human heart.

In the light of this it will be seen how empty and meaningless is the average church service today. All the means are in evidence; the one ominous weakness is the absence of the Spirit’s power. The form of godliness is there, and often the form is perfected till it is an aesthetic triumph. Music and poetry, art and oratory, symbolic vesture and solemn tones combine to charm the mind of the worshiper, but too often the supernatural afflatus is not there. The power from on high is neither known nor desired by pastor or people. This is nothing less than tragic, and all the more so because it falls within the field of religion where the eternal destinies of men are involved.   POM090-091

Lord, I’m going to set aside some time today to “tarry” in seeking an assurance of the Holy Spirit’s work in our church. I’ll do my homework in giving good leadership, but again today I affirm my prayer that the Holy Spirit would come in real power in our church. Amen.

 

Fragrance Cannot Be Hidden

Mary…anointed the feet of Jesus…and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

John 12:3

 

A Christian brother once confided in me how he had tried to keep the fullness of the Spirit a secret within his own life. He had made a commitment of his life to God in faith. In answer to prayer, God had filled him with the Spirit. Within himself he said, “I cannot tell anyone about this!”

Three days passed. On the third day his wife touched him on the arm and asked, “Everett, what has happened to you? Something has happened to you!” And like a pent-up stream his testimony flowed out. He had received an anointing of the Holy Spirit. The fragrance could not be hidden. His wife knew it in the home. His life was changed. The spiritual graces and fruits of the consecrated life cannot be hidden. It is an anointing with the oil of gladness and joy. JMI063

A [person] anointed by the Holy Spirit, fed on the sweetness of Christ and bearing fruit for God and man, is not craving after self-aggrandizement. Empty glory can never fill the human heart; vanity and pride are no substitutes for the joy of the Lord, the fullness of the Spirit and the sweet rest we find at Jesus’ feet. CTBC, Vol. 2/194

 

Stay Under His Wings

Matthew 23:37

One of the most vivid scenes in my memory occurred one lazy summer on my uncle’s one-hundred-acre farm in Michigan. My brother and I were in luck because my aunt, who cared for the farm’s poultry concerns, had just purchased 50 baby chicks to raise. These soft little balls of yellow seemed like dandelion fluff blown across the prairie in the summer wind.

By the hour we watched the tiny creatures peck grain and draw at the water tubes. On warm days they were confined in a chicken run where they could hop about and forage in the gentle sunshine.

Aunt Dina decided to leave the chicks in the run one afternoon when we went to town. While there, the clouds gathered with startling suddenness. Thunder rumbled down the valley, and the sky exploded with a vehement rain such as we had never seen before.

Aunt Dina drove home, her face drawn and grim. We knew she was dreadfully worried about the chicks. And her worry was not without cause, for when we pulled up the drive and raced to the chicken run, we saw the tiny yellow things in grotesque contortions, some struggling to get up, others still as death under burial sheets of rain. Two of the three hens nestled on the ground with glassy eyes and bulging sides—bulging because of the chicks gathered beneath their rain-soaked wings.

Aunt Dina lost 25 of the 50 chicks. Most of those sheltered beneath mamma’s wings were still alive. We nursed them back to health under heat lamps in the living room.

The sight of the one desperate hen, her eyes wide and glassy with fright, wings scraping the ground as she chased the scattering chicks, is a memory as vivid today as it was then. For it is so like the scene Jesus described as He wept over Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37).

Like my Aunt Dina’s chicks, the people of Jerusalem who heard Jesus speak had no idea of the storm that was coming. They didn’t believe that they needed Him, that their lives depended on Him in spite of the warnings of Jesus and the prophets before Him.

God does not offer us merely a shelter in the midst of turmoil. Revealed in the potent image of the hen with her chicks is the possibility of taking part in the very life of God.

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word