VIDEO “Nor Find Thee to Fail”

My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

One of our most majestic hymns, “O Worship the King,” says: “Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, / In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail.” 

We are frail and feeble, and our flesh and our heart may fail. Some people feel like failures, and others face failures beyond their control. We’re sometimes tempted to think God has failed. Even the prophet Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 15:18, “Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?”

But later, in Lamentations 3:22, Jeremiah affirmed, “His compassions fail not.” Nor do His promises. Joshua 21:45 says, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” Jesus echoed that truth, saying, “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17).

If you’re encountering failure right now, turn around and encounter your matchless Lord. Take courage! Jesus never fails.

Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end, / Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

Robert Grant, “O Worship the King”

Psalm 73 • Seeing my life correctly

Love Reins Us In

It is better not to . . . do anything . . . that will cause your brother or sister to fall. Romans 14:21

Most young Samoan boys receive a tattoo signaling their responsibility to their people and their chief. Naturally, then, the marks cover the arms of the Samoan men’s rugby team members. Traveling to Japan where tattoos can carry negative connotations, the teammates realized their symbols presented a problem for their hosts. In a generous act of friendship, the Samoans wore skin-colored sleeves covering the designs. “We’re respectful and mindful to . . . the Japanese way,” the team captain explained. “We’ll be making sure that what we’re showing will be okay.”

In an age emphasizing individual expression, it’s remarkable to encounter self-limitation—a concept Paul wrote about in the book of Romans. He told us that love sometimes requires us to lay down our rights for others. Rather than pushing our freedom to the boundaries, sometimes love reins us in. The apostle explained how some people in the church believed they were free “to eat anything,” but others ate “only vegetables” (Romans 14:2). While this might seem like a minor issue, in the first century, adherence to Old Testament dietary laws was controversial. Paul instructed everyone to “stop passing judgment on one another” (v. 13), before concluding with particular words for those who ate freely. “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall” (v. 21).

At times, loving another means limiting our own freedoms. We don’t have to always do everything we’re free to do. Sometimes love reins us in.

By:  Winn Collier

Reflect & Pray

When have you seen people limit their freedom for the sake of other believers in Jesus? What was that like? What’s difficult about those situations where love reins us in?

God, help me to see where I need to encourage others to experience freedom and how I need to limit how I use my own freedoms.

How to Listen to God’s Word

Nehemiah 8

It’s amazing how two people can hear the same sermon about the same portion of Scripture and yet walk away with completely different reactions—one could be deeply affected and the other indifferent to the message. Why does this happen? The main reason is the condition of a person’s heart.  

Nehemiah 8 is an amazing scene of God’s people coming together to hear His Word. They had been in captivity for many years and were hungry for His Word. For most of them, this was the first time they heard the Scriptures.

Are you hungry for God’s Word? Do you listen eagerly with an expectant mind and heart? When we genuinely long to know more of the Lord, it’s easier for our mind to focus on what He’s saying—and this is the case whether we’re listening to a pastor or teacher, reading our Bible, or following a book study.

So many things clamor for our focus, but nothing is as important as what the Lord has to say. He is worthy of our undivided attention. Remember, Jesus promised that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be satisfied (Matt. 5:6). Rest assured that whoever listens to God’s Word with an open heart and alert mind will receive from Him.

The Living Word

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

This is the great verse of the Incarnation, declaring to us that the Creator of all things, the eternal Word of God (John 1:1-3) actually became a man, being “made flesh” (our text). Since this verse and the following verses unequivocally refer to “Jesus Christ” (v. 17), there is no legitimate escape (though many have tried) from the great truth that the man called Jesus of Nazareth was the great God and Creator, as well as perfect man and redeeming Savior. Furthermore, He has assumed human flesh forever, while still remaining fully God. He is Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

He is not part man and part God, or sometimes man and sometimes God, but is now the God-man, fully and eternally true God and perfect man—man as God created and intended man to be. See also Philippians 2:5-8 and 1 John 4:2-3.

When He first became man, He “dwelt among us” for a while. The word “dwelt,” however, is actually the Greek word for “tabernacled.” As in the tabernacle (or “tent”) prepared by Moses (Exodus 40:33) in the wilderness, the glory of God in Christ dwelled on Earth for a time in a “body” prepared by God (Hebrews 10:5). We also “beheld his glory,” says His beloved disciple, John. The Greek word for “tabernacle” (skene) is a cognate word to shakan (the Hebrew word for “dwell”), both being related to what has come to be known as the Shekinah glory cloud that filled the ancient tabernacle (Exodus 40:34).

Eventually, when the Holy City descends out of heaven to the new earth, then “the tabernacle of God” will forever be “with men,” and He will “dwell with them” and “be their God” eternally (Revelation 21:3). Thus, God’s “Living Word” is now and always our living Lord! HMM

Overcome Distractions

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. —Matthew 6:6

Among the enemies to devotion none is so harmful as distractions. Whatever excites the curiosity, scatters the thoughts, disquiets the heart, absorbs the interests or shifts our life focus from the kingdom of God within us to the world around us—that is a distraction; and the world is full of them. Our science-based civilization has given us many benefits but it has multiplied our distractions and so taken away far more than it has given….

The remedy for distractions is the same now as it was in earlier and simpler times, viz., prayer, meditation and the cultivation of the inner life. The psalmist said “Be still, and know” (Psalm 46:10), and Christ told us to enter into our closet, shut the door and pray unto the Father. It still works….

Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us. So let us cultivate simplicity; let us want fewer things; let us walk in the Spirit; let us fill our minds with the Word of God and our hearts with praise. In that way we can live in peace even in such a distraught world as this. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (John 14:27).   SOS130-132

Lord, help me to cultivate simplicity, to be satisfied with fewer things and to find the inner peace that You can give in a life of prayer and meditation. Amen.

Worshiper First, Worker Second

Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. —Matthew 4:10

I think that God has given me a little bit of a spirit of a crusader and I am crusading where I can that Christians of all denominations and shades of theological thought might be restored again to our original purpose.

We’re here to be worshipers first and workers only second. We take a convert and immediately make a worker out of him. God never meant it to be so. God meant that a convert should learn to be a worshiper, and after that he can learn to be a worker.

Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). Peter wanted to go at once, but Christ said, “Don’t go yet. Wait until you are endued with power.” (See Luke 24:49.)

Power for service? Yes, but that’s only half of it; maybe that’s only one-tenth of it. The other nine-tenths are that the Holy Ghost may restore to us again the spirit of worship. Out of enraptured, admiring, adoring, worshiping souls, then, God does His work. The work done by a worshiper will have eternity in it. WMJ010

What [God] asks from us is worship….The homage He claims is the devotion of our hearts. CTBC, Vol. 4/010

Resurection Power

Philippians 3:10

Power is a dominating theme of our age. We talk about nuclear power, money power, political power, people power. Men in the corridors of power play the power game, manipulating men and nations. Yes, human power is great. But it fades into insignificance when we consider the power of Christ.

The Scriptures give us a picture of His power. All things were made by Him. By His creative power He gave the hills their shape, the landscape its color and beauty and the animal kingdom its rich variety. He demonstrated His power over nature when He stilled the storm and calmed the raging sea. He showed His power over human nature when He opened the eyes of the blind and made the lame to walk.

But mightiest of all was His power over death when on that first Easter morning He burst the shackles of the grave and overcame death with resurrection power. The words of Paul shared his longing: “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).

Such power is irresistible. It takes no account of obstacles. Jesus emerging from the tomb found the heavy stone no barrier. He left the grave clothes behind undisturbed. He ignored the Roman guards.

Doesn’t life at times seem to hem us in with all kinds of obstacles? Immovable barriers and insurmountable limitations? We just can’t be the kind of people we want to be. Sinful habits keep coming back to thwart us. Frustrations and difficulties weigh us down and we feel we can’t cope. There is no way we can break through.

But wait! Resurrection power can touch your life. It doesn’t have to be defeat and despair. Just as the women who went to the garden in that pre-dawn hour found the massive stone rolled away from the tomb, you can find the resurrection power to overcome your setbacks, your sins.

Symbolically that quiet power, so unlike the world’s noisy, explosive variety, we see at work in springtime each year. New life, color, beauty and glory come unobtrusively to the earth after the cold barren death-like time of winter. So the resurrection power of Christ, His quiet force, can bring new beauty and loveliness to your life. As John Gowans has reminded us:

Out of my darkness He calls me,

Out of my doubt, my despair,

Out of the wastes of my winter,

Into the spring of His care.

Eva Burrows, Salvationist