VIDEO Swan Song

 

He also brought me out of a horrible pit…. He has put a new song in my mouth. Psalm 40:2-3

Rescuers in Neath, England, found a beautiful swan in a graveyard near a church. Inspector Nic de Celis said, “This poor young swan was a little disoriented after becoming trapped in a busy churchyard, surrounded by a high fence and many graves. Fortunately, the swan wasn’t injured, and I was able to safely return the bird to the nearby canal—where he joined a sibling.”[1]

Millions of people are trapped by their fear of death, surrounded by fences they can’t climb, feeling disoriented. But the Lord Jesus comes to our rescue, frees us from the graveyard, and brings joy and happiness into our lives. There’s a happiness the world knows nothing about. It’s found in the open tomb of Jesus, the open arms of grace, and the open pages of Scripture. That’s something to sing about!

The psalmist said, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him” (Psalm 40:3, NIV).

You may very well weary of the monotony of any human voice, but you can never be tired of the many-stringed harp which is to be found in that one name, the name of Jesus!  Charles H. Spurgeon


Psalm 40: David’s Life – Chuck Missler

Rescue the Weak

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:4

Which would you choose—a skiing holiday in Switzerland or rescuing children from danger in Prague? Nicholas Winton, just an ordinary man, chose the latter. In 1938, war between Czechoslovakia and Germany seemed on the horizon. After Nicholas visited refugee camps in Prague, where many Jewish citizens lived in horrible conditions, he felt compelled to come up with a plan to help. He raised money to transport hundreds of children safely out of Prague to Great Britain to be cared for by British families before the onset of World War II.

His actions exemplified those called for in Psalm 82: “Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed” (v. 3). Asaph, the writer of this psalm, wanted to stir his people to champion the cause of those in need: “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (v. 4). Like the children Nicholas worked tirelessly to rescue, the psalmist spoke for those who couldn’t speak for themselves—the poor and the widowed who needed justice and protection.

Everywhere we look today we see people in need due to war, storms, and other hardships. Although we can’t solve every problem, we can prayerfully consider what we can do to help in the situations God brings into our lives.

By:  Linda Washington

Reflect & Pray

What are some immediate needs of others you can help meet? How has God uniquely prepared you to rescue and care for others?

Loving God, open my eyes to the needs of those around me.

Responding to Tough Times

Proverbs 3:5-6

Tough times have a way of revealing our true nature. If two people were to face the same dilemma, one may grow closer to God and bear fruit while the other becomes anxious and doubts God’s faithfulness. How we respond to trials makes all the difference.

Like it or not, hardship is part of life. Becoming a Christian doesn’t change that fact (John 16:33). What shifts is our understanding of God’s sovereignty—nothing touches our life unless He permits it. Consider David, for example: God allowed a murderous king to pursue him for years (1 Samuel 23:15; 1 Samuel 23:25), but David responded to adversity with faith and called God his stronghold and refuge (Psalm 59:16).

If we let them, challenges can grow our faith, change our perspective, or deepen our compassion. But no matter what, the Lord is available to help us in our affliction (Psalm 46:1). Either we can turn toward Him for comfort, guidance, and support, or we can get angry and resentful that we’re not being rescued from our valley.

When affliction strips away every crutch, one has only the Lord to depend upon. Though some people are destroyed by that kind of situation, others are built into undaunted believers.

Just Faith

“And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

It may come as a surprise to some that both Old and New Testament believers are justified only by faith. In fact, four New Testament epistles base their arguments on justification by faith on two Old Testament passages, each quoted three times but with each one emphasizing a different aspect.

In our text, we see that Abraham was declared righteous because of his faith (i.e., belief, same word). This verse is quoted in Romans 4:3 in the midst of a formal argument on the just nature of God and the fact that we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Here, the emphasis is on counted. In Galatians 3:6, the word believed is emphasized, couched in the book dedicated to contrasting works and faith. “They which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:9). The book of James was written to encourage believers to good works as evidence of their faith, and our text, quoted in James 2:23, emphasizes righteousness. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

The other Old Testament passage dealing with faith, which is also quoted three times in the New Testament, reads, “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). When used in Romans 1:17 just prior to the description of the evil lifestyles of the wicked (vv. 18-32), the emphasis seems to be on the word just. In Galatians 3:11, as noted above, the word faith is stressed. But in Hebrews 10:38, the author teaches that those who have been declared righteous by God live eternally by faith and will be able to cope with persecution (vv. 34-37).

Thus, the Old Testament doctrine that we are saved by faith in the work of God to solve our sin problem applies to every area of our lives and being, including our past sin, our present holy life and work, and our future eternal life. JDM

Trusting in the Lifeboat

And [he] brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

—Acts 16:30-31

 

No man has any hope for eternal salvation apart from trusting completely in Jesus Christ and His atonement for men. Simply stated, our Lord Jesus is the lifeboat and we must fully and truly be committed to trusting the lifeboat.

Again, our Lord and Savior is the rope by which it is possible to escape from the burning building. There is no doubt about it—either we trust that rope or we perish.

He is the wonder drug or medication that heals all ills and sicknesses—and if we refuse it, we die.

He is the bridge from hell to heaven—and we take the bridge and cross over by His grace or we stay in hell.

These are simple illustrations, but they get to the point of the necessity of complete trust in Jesus Christ—absolute trust in Him!   WPJ063-064

Lord, help me to make this clear as I share the gospel. So many seem to persist in wanting to trust Christ plus their own efforts. Thank You for this free gift of salvation. Amen.

 

True Christian Equals Practicing Christian

We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

—2 Corinthians 5:1

 

The supreme purpose of the Christian religion is to make men like God in order that they may act like God. In Christ the verbs to be and to do follow each other in that order.

True religion leads to moral action. The only true Christian is the practicing Christian.

Such a one is in very reality an incarnation of Christ as Christ is the incarnation of God; not in the same degree and fullness of perfection, for there is nothing in the moral universe equal to that awful mystery of godliness which joined God and man in eternal union in the person of the Man Christ Jesus; but as the fullness of the Godhead was and is in Christ, so Christ is in the nature of the one who believes in Him in the manner prescribed in the Scriptures. OGM063

It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right. ROR052-053

 

Fellowship Which Binds

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

If fellowship is friendship with a plus, then Paul and Timothy enjoyed fellowship. Dissimilar in temperament and of different generations, they were nevertheless bound by a bond of affection. Paul once wrote of Timothy, “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare… Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel” (Philippians 2:20-22).

It is to Timothy that Paul can appeal for help at the end; he knows him to be the kind of thoughtful friend who will bring the cloak he needs, and his books—

and hurry to get there before winter (2 Timothy 4:13, 21).

But what is that plus in the friendship? It is, of course, the presence of the Holy Spirit. Unsaved people may be good friends, but only where both are Christians does real fellowship exist. In fact, our fellowship must first be with Jesus and then with those who belong to Jesus.

It is of the greatest importance for any man or woman in the ministry to appreciate the importance of fellowship. If our preaching leads men to Christ, it will surely lead them together. Let me aim at that, and let me foster and strengthen that fellowship—not by focusing on the group (for that can lead to unhealthy introspection), but by keeping Jesus resolutely in the center.

We need to be deeply impressed with the fact that Jesus is in the midst when we gather, to appreciate His presence, to love Him for it, and to let His love flow over our gatherings. The warmth and happiness of such groups will act like a magnet to the community in which we are set.

Men and woman are sinners, in need of a Savior. And that Savior is available, graciously near, ready to rescue. His name is Jesus—heaven’s answer to earth’s ruin and misery.

This Jesus has accomplished, once for all: the redemption of the lost. It is now for the lost to learn that and to be persuaded to respond to it in faith. Those who do will find Him strong to deliver, faithful to keep, and ready to enclose His own in a fellowship of wonderful love.

Edward Read, Timothy, My Son