VIDEO No Fear of Bad News

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7

Psalm 112 begins with a Hallelujah—“Praise the Lord!” Then it lists the blessings of those who fear the Lord and delight in His commands. God will watch over our families (verse 2); provide our needs (verse 3); give us light in darkness (verse 4); and we will never be shaken (verse 6). The next verse is an amazing promise: “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (verse 7, NIV).

God’s blessings aren’t just here today and gone tomorrow. His eternal presence spans time, and He knows the events of the coming days. He comprehends all contingencies, and nothing will touch us apart from His fatherly will. Our worries disappear when we remember that God is in control of the future. 

Fear God, study His commands, and claim His blessings—starting today!

Jehovah is so great that He is to be feared and held in reverence of all them that are round Him, and He is… so infinitely good that…the fear is sweetened into filial love and becomes a delightful emotion…. There is a slavish fear which is accursed; but that godly fear which leads to delight in the service of God is infinitely blessed. Charles Spurgeon


Withholding the Truth! – Charles Spurgeon Sermon

Milk Comes First

Solid food is for the mature. Hebrews 5:14

In the seventh century, what is now called the United Kingdom was many kingdoms often at war. When one king, Oswald of Northumbria, became a believer in Jesus, he called for a missionary to bring the gospel to his region. A man named Corman was sent, but things didn’t go well. Finding the English “stubborn,” “barbarous,” and uninterested in his preaching, he returned home frustrated.

“I am of the opinion,” a monk named Aidan told Corman, “that you were more severe to your unlearned hearers than you ought to have been.” Instead of giving the Northumbrians “the milk of more easy doctrine,” Corman had given them teaching they couldn’t yet grasp. Aidan went to Northumbria, adapted his preaching to the people’s understanding, and thousands became believers in Jesus.

Aidan got this sensitive approach to mission from Scripture. “I gave you milk, not solid food,” Paul told the Corinthians, “for you were not yet ready for it” (1 Corinthians 3:2). Before right living can be expected from people, Hebrews says, basic teaching about Jesus, repentance, and baptism must be grasped (Hebrews 5:13–6:2). While maturity should follow (5:14), let’s not miss the order. Milk comes before meat. People can’t obey teaching they don’t understand.

The faith of the Northumbrians ultimately spread to the rest of the country and beyond. Like Aidan, when sharing the gospel with others, we meet people where they are.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Reflect & Pray

In simple terms, how would you explain the gospel? How can you avoid expecting people who aren’t believers in Jesus to think or behave as you do?

Jesus, thank You for reaching me in ways I could understand

Basing Expectations on Truth

Mark 9:30-32

We all jump to conclusions and make assumptions—even the disciples missed important truth in this way. Jesus told them repeatedly that He was going to be crucified and raised to life after three days. Their ears heard His words, but their minds and hearts didn’t.

The disciples knew Jesus was the Messiah, but their assumptions about how and when His kingdom would come kept them from hearing how the Lord actually said it would happen. They were looking for a Savior who would overthrow Rome and then rule with the disciples by His side. However, Jesus’ words of death and resurrection were the exact opposite of that. They hadn’t understood the promise of the resurrection, so when Jesus died, their dreams died too, which left them feeling hopeless (Luke 23:46; Luke 23:48).

We might wonder, How could they be so dense? But before we judge them too harshly, let’s remember that we, too, often have ideas about how the Lord should work in our life and in the world.

God’s ways won’t always match ours, because He works from an eternal perspective and we don’t. So we must remember that His ways are best. Let’s drop our expectations and trust Him.

Jehovah

“And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” (Hebrews 1:10)

The primary name for God in Scripture is the majestic name Jehovah, occurring nearly 7,000 times. The early Jews were reluctant to use that name for fear of using it lightly (Exodus 20:7) and substituted the word Adonai (meaning Master or Lord) in its place. Our English versions have followed suit, using the term “Lord” for Jehovah (small or all caps to distinguish it from Adonai, or Lord). Thus, the name Jehovah appears only four times in the King James and causes us at times to miss the full impact of the passage.

This is especially true in the New Testament quotations from Old Testament passages that used the name “Jehovah” for which “Lord” has been substituted. Now in the English versions the name “Lord” appears. If “Jehovah” (i.e., deity) were read instead, much richer meaning would be gathered, and it would prove beyond a doubt the full deity of Christ. Consider two examples.

First, our text quotes from Psalm 102:25-27. The entire psalm consists of praise to Jehovah, and here in Hebrews it addresses the Son. If we read “thou, Jehovah, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth” and realize that Jesus is the subject of the passage, we recognize that Jesus can be none other than the Creator God.

Also, in Matthew 3:3, where John the Baptist fulfilled his prophesied role by teaching “Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” quoting from Isaiah 40:3, we see Jesus equated with the Jehovah of the Old Testament, for Isaiah uses the term LORD, or Jehovah.

In these and many other examples, we see Christ as the Jehovah Jesus and that the Lord of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament. JDM

The Law and the Prophets

Matthew 5:17

OUR Lord’s relation to the Mosaic Law has been misunderstood grievously. He declared that He came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17), and that is the key to the whole matter. Some speak slightly of the law, as though our Lord roughly disannulled it, but He regarded it as sacred. The law was the bud and He the blossom fulfilling it, but both bud and blossom are perfect in their own way.

The law is “holy, just and good,” but believers are not under law but under grace and in-lawed to Christ—”married to another” (Rom. 7:4). Christ was born under the law (Gal. 4:4), lived under the law, kept the law perfectly, bore the curse of the law in His death, and thereby redeemed us from it that we might be dead to it and bear fruit unto God (Rom. 7:4).

In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord set forth His relation to the Law and the Prophets. Far from disregarding the law, He declared that every jot and tittle should be fulfilled. Our righteousness must exceed the law-righteousness of the Pharisees, and it does because Christ Himself is our righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Cor. 1:30).

Then our Lord went back of the law to show that the real offense lay in a persons evil motive, the cause of sin. He showed that murder went back to hatred and anger, adultery to lust. He then laid down the only reason for divorce: fornication. Frivolous swearing and serious oaths alike are set aside in favor of letting “yes” and “no” suffice. He condemned revenge and set forth the ideal of the other cheek and the second mile. Much argument has raged as to how far we may practice this injunction in the present age, but the spirit of the second mile should be in every believer instead of that all-too-common “chip-on-the-shoulder” attitude. Impartial love to friend and enemy alike is the spirit of Christ, but, alas, we still love most those from whom we hope to receive.

Our Lord concluded this portion of His discourse by saying, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Here the idea is that of completeness, not sinless perfection. But even at that, the Sermon on the Mount sets before us an impossible ideal except for Calvary. Idealists and dreamers through the ages have tried to create communities where people lived by the Sermon on the Mount, but the ventures have been pitiful failures. Tolstoy and his colony were examples of this misguided impulse which has led many astray. Many preachers today follow only the Christ of the Mount, but we can only reach the Mount by way of Calvary. Christ met the demands of the law, and it is only Christ living within the believer who can live out the principles He Himself laid down. As I receive Him by faith and abide in Him, the Holy Spirit produces in me the fruits which the law demanded but could not create.

Nothing is more discouraging than the Sermon on the Mount unless we see it through the light of the cross. Only Christ can meet His own ideals, but this He will do in everyone who receives Him. Even then, we believe that the literal application of this sermon awaits the kingdom age to come—but the spiritual application is for us now, and is met by Christ through the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer.

No Matter What …

But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever.—Psalm 52:8

As he encourages himself in God, David utters: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack” (Ps 23:1). What a bold and positive statement to make! At first glance, however, the words seem quite absurd. Here is David in the midst of intense privation, hunted and hounded by hostile enemy forces, deserted by many of his former supporters—yet quietly affirming, “there is nothing I lack.” In the past I have known many Christians who have had great difficulty in understanding this phrase. They have said, “How can I recite this verse with any meaning when I want so many things? I want a happy family, better living conditions, an adequate supply of money, employment, a wife, a husband” and so on.

David’s meaning becomes clear when we dig a little deeper into the original Hebrew words that are used. Our translation says: “There is nothing I lack.” Another puts it like this: “I shall not lack any good thing.” “The main thought,” says one commentator, “is that of not lacking—not being deficient—in proper care, management or husbandry.”

So what David is really saying is this: no matter what hardships or privations come my way, I am confident of this one thing—that I shall not lack the expert care and tender supervision of my Master and my Shepherd. There were many things that David lacked—he lacked the comforts of life, family affection, physical security, and so on. What he did not lack, however, was the assurance that God was with him in his difficulties, managing his affairs and turning all his stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.

Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, You who took everything that men threw at You and made it work toward Your ends—teach me how to do the same. Impress this truth deeply upon my spirit: that it is not what happens to me, but what I do with it, that determines the result. Amen.

Further Study

Isa 40:11; 41:1-10; Dt 33:27; Ps 18:35-36

What was God’s assurance to the children of Israel?

What was the psalmist’s affirmation?

Hedges

2 Corinthians 5:15

I saw it so clearly, Lord,

Through the words of one of your servants.

I have built hedges around my life

without realizing it.

Higher and higher they have grown

without my knowledge.

These hedges have shut others out and myself in.

It was comfortable, so comfortable and cozy.

Less demanded of me,

less expected of me, only myself to consider.

I have hedged about my time. My time!

Did I create time to be my own?

Have I sovereign right to twenty-four hours a day?

Is not each hour a token of Your grace?

I have hedged about my leisure,

My free time is my own, I have said,

and I have miserly gloated over it,

resenting any encroachment upon it.

I have hedged about my love.

These, and these only, I care for,

my nearest, my dearest, my friends,

all precious because they are mine.

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive my selfish living,

my disregard of others.

Help me to tear down the high hedges I have built

and in their place to plant an open garden.

Then I can look out

and others can look in

and we shall be drawn nearer to one another.

Flora Larsson, Just A Moment, Lord